One Step Closer: Food and Drug Administration Hearings Highlight Progress on Food Safety

Sep 19, 2013


Food Safety Modernization Act
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Food Safety Modernization Act

In a series of public meetings, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is reaching out to stakeholders for their comments on the proposed FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, or FSMA, rules, which were released by the agency this year.

On Sept. 19 and 20, a public hearing will take place in Washington on draft rules concerning food shipped to the United States. Once finalized, the rules will hold foreign and domestic suppliers to the same safety standards. At the Sept. 19 hearing on Capitol Hill, six Americans who have been sickened by contaminated food will deliver testimony about their experiences.

Among those testifying, one person was sickened by Listeria monocytogenes traced back to imported ricotta salata cheese from Italy. The 2012 outbreak affected 22 people in 13 states and the District of Columbia, and four related deaths were reported. Also testifying will be five people who fell ill as a result of hepatitis A contamination in pomegranate seeds shipped from Turkey. The outbreak sickened 161 Americans in 10 states.

Additional meetings on the proposed import rules will take place Oct. 10 and 11 in Miami and Oct. 22 and 23 in Long Beach, CA.

In February and March, the agency provided an opportunity for public comment on proposed rules to establish produce safety standards to minimize contamination of fresh fruits and vegetables and develop prevention-based requirements for processed foods, such as cookie dough and peanut butter. Meetings were held Feb. 28 and March 1 in Washington; March 11 and 12 in Chicago; and March 27 and 28 in Portland, OR.

For more information on FSMA, view our infographic.

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