The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released for public comment two proposed rules to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act. The proposed rules are designed to help prevent foodborne illnesses. The proposed rule on Preventive Controls for Human Food sets safety requirements for facilities that process, package or store food for people. Human food facilities would have to implement “preventive controls” with a written plan that:
- Evaluates hazards that are reasonably likely to occur in food, such as pathogens (disease-causing organisms) and allergens.
- Specifies the steps that will be put in place to minimize or prevent those hazards.
- Specifies how these controls will be monitored.
- Maintains routine records of the monitoring.
- Specifies what actions will be taken to correct problems that arise.
The Standards for Produce Safety proposed rule implements the food-safety law requirements that science-based standards be set for the production and harvesting of fruits and vegetables. The proposed rule would cover all fruits and vegetables except those rarely consumed raw, produced for personal consumption, or destined for commercial processing that will reduce microorganisms of public health concern. The standards include requirements addressing major areas specific to agriculture that can be the conduit for contaminates:
- Irrigation and other agricultural water;
- Farm worker hygiene;
- Manure and other additions to the soil;
- Intrusion of animals in the growing fields, and
- Sanitation conditions affecting buildings, equipment and tools.
The rules are open for public comment period for 120 days.