For the Food and Drug Administration, prevention is at the heart of food safety.
“Preventing problems before they cause harm is not only common sense, it is the key to food safety in the 21st century,” says FDA Commissioner Margaret A.
Hamburg, M.D. “We cannot afford to wait until people become ill to realize there is a problem.”
Prevention is the core principle of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act that President Obama signed into law in 2011, creating a blueprint for the most sweeping changes to the nation’s food protection system since Theodore Roosevelt held office.
In accordance with that law, FDA is promulgating five new rules to support and strengthen the nation’s food safety system for the 21st century. Together, the proposed rules will establish requirements for farmers, food companies and importers to prevent foodborne illness.
The first two have been proposed and published for public comment:
- Preventive Controls for Human Food: This rule sets safety requirements for facilities that process, package or store food for people. (There is a separate, upcoming rule for animal food.) The rule will require that food facilities implement “preventive controls,” a science-based set of measures intended to prevent foodborne illness.
- Produce Safety: The food-safety law requires that science-based standards be set for the production and harvesting of fruits and vegetables, and FDA is proposing such standards for growing, harvesting, packing, and holding produce on farms.