Four food safety rules under the Food Safety Modernization Act (“FSMA”) regarding produce safety, Foreign Supplier Verification Program (“FSVP”) and preventive controls are still under review at the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) despite the looming deadlines. Specifically, the court mandated deadline to finalize two rules on the preventive controls for human food and animal food is August 30, 2015; OMB’s delay will leave no time for extended comment periods by the industry. According to Michael Taylor, the Food and Drug Administration’s deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, who spoke at the United Fresh Produce Association Washington Conference, there will still be a reasonable comment period on the re-proposals “given that these are not new issues,” but not extended periods.
The other court mandated deadlines to finalize rules implementing the FSMA are October 31, 2015 (produce safety, FSVP and third-party accreditation), March 31, 2016 (sanitary transport), and May 31, 2016 (intentional contamination). Taylor took the opportunity at the Washington Conference to reemphasize the need for adequate resources to implement the FSMA: “2016 really becomes the crucial year for getting the budget that we need to successfully implement.”