The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a proposal for a new “food defence rule” designed to protect the food supply chain from large-scale attempts to harm public health through deliberate contamination.
While the FDA says that it is not aware of any such adulteration to date and considers the possibility unlikely, a statement explains that the proposed new rule is a preventative measure aimed at ensuring the safety of the food supply. It will require food businesses within the USA and abroad to protect their facilities from intentional contamination attempts.
The proposal outlines a targeted approach focusing on processes within food facilities that are most vulnerable to attack. Food businesses will have to draw up a HACCP-style written food defence plan identifying those vulnerabilities and setting out the control measures and monitoring procedures needed to address them.
The new rule is a requirement of the Food Safety Modernization Act. It is intended to be implemented in stages and will apply initially to larger businesses, before being extended to smaller concerns. Some small operations will be exempt, as will farms and animal feed suppliers. The FDA is now seeking public feedback on the proposal and comments can be received until the 31 March 2014.
More information and the full text of the proposal can be found here.