They're out. Finally. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has just announced the first two new regulations to be released under the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). This Act was signed into law by President Obama in January of 2011
Here they are:
The first rule will give the FDA the right to embargo "suspect" food so that it can not enter the marketplace. This refers to food for which there is proof that it has been produced under unsanitary or unsafe conditions (such as incorrect pasteurization or canning, unsafe storage, lack of testing) but which may not as yet have a specific contaminant identified. I have been listing some under "Alerts". Basically, this will give the FDA up to 30 days to see what other measures should be taken (hopefully the food will not go bad in the meantime).
The other rule relates to imported foods - both for humans and animals. This rule requires that anyone importing food into the U.S. has to inform the FDA if any other country has refused entry to this same product. Yes, it happens: a product refused entry by one country, because it is found to be harmful, is then sent off to another unsuspecting one, hoping no one will find out. There have been some embarrassing situations over the years.
Personally, I think these are good regulations, which should help to make the U.S. food supply safer. What I particularly like, is that we are going further upstream in terms of prevention.
Both rules will take effect July 3, 2011.