Dec 23, 2010

Congress Passes New Food Safety Legislation

Act will require more inspections and require facilities, including water bottlers, to implement preventive controls

The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives recently passed the Food Safety Modernization Act. The bill, which was enrolled Dec. 21, authorizes the largest overhaul of the federal food safety laws since the enactment of the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906.

Key provisions of the new law include:

• More frequent Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspections. Domestic facilities will be inspected based on risk: high-risk facilities at least once every three years, and low-risk facilities at least once every five years;
• Providing the FDA with mandatory recall authority for those incidents that involve serious adverse health consequences or death (Class I Recalls);
• Hazard analysis and identification of preventive controls. Each registered facility will be required to conduct a hazard analysis of reasonably foreseeable hazards and put into place preventive controls designed to significantly minimize or prevent those hazards; and
• Records maintenance and access. Each registered facility will be required to document its hazard analysis and preventive controls system, including corrective actions and product and environmental testing, and to make those records available to FDA upon request.

The Intl. Bottled Water Assn. (IBWA) supported the legislation as part of a large coalition that includes other food and beverage producers, manufacturers and associations. In a press release, the organization said it looks forward to President Obama signing the bill into law as soon as possible, and that it is ready to work with the FDA to implement the new law.