On February 24, 2014 the online news service Food Navigator USA published an article reporting on an agreement which forms part of a settlement between advocacy groups and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In the lawsuit, the advocacy groups demanded a speeding up the process of implementing final rules for the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The FSMA was signed into law in 2011 and is considered the most important change made in food safety regulation since the adoption of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act in 1938. The FSMA gives the FDA new authorities to control the way foods are grown, harvested and processed. It also gives the FDA new obligations including mandatory recall authority. The two advocacy groups Center for Food Safety (CFS) and the Center for Environmental Health filed a lawsuit against FDA for failing to deliver the seven rules required by the deadline on November 30, 2012, as set out in the law. According to the now settled agreement the FDA is required to issue regulations in accordance with the follwing court-overseen schedule:
- August 30, 2015: preventative controls for human and animal food
- October 31, 2015: imported food and foreign suppliers; produce safety
- March 31, 2016: food transportation
- May 31, 2016: intentional adulteration of food
In the article, Ben England from the law firm FDAimports.com LLC commented that the present schedule is not set in stone and that no real enforcement has been put in place. He admits that there is no reason to believe FDA cannot deliver the deadlines. However, England states that, because of the size of FSMA, its full implementation will take years.
Hank Schultz (February 24, 2014). “FDA agrees to new deadlines on FSMA final rules”. Food Navigator USA