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Comments Over, Waiting Begins for FSMA Rule

The comment period is over for the proposed Food Safety Modernization Act rules:

  1. Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption (Produce Safety Rule) and
  2. Current Good Manufacturing Practices and Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food (GMPs & Preventive Controls)

And now the question is: Will the Food and Drug Administration publish an interim rule for comment before the final rules are published?

“We are hopeful that the July 2015 deadline for the final rules will be pushed out to allow for an interim rule,” said Tim Birmingham, director of Quality Assurance and Industry Services for the Almond Board of California (ABC) at last week’s Almond Conference.

In a presentation titled “Food Safety and FSMA: Leveraging Our Almond Industry Practices,” speaker David Gombas,
 senior vice president for Food Safety and Technology, United Fresh Produce Association, said the new food safety rules will make “fundamental changes” to food safety programs and “FSMA will be one shot to get it right. We [United Fresh] want to see a second set of rules after the comment period, and 75 congressmen have asked FDA for this as well.”

ABC’s comments to FDA on both the Preventive Controls and Produce Safety Rule are available at the Almond Board website.

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