Letter from FDA's Taylor concerning Food Safety Modernization Act

Published: May 6, 2011

Letter to Stakeholders Concerning Updates on the Implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act

May 5, 2011

Dear Colleagues:

I last wrote to you on April 1 to outline our strategy for implementing the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and describe our outreach activities. Today, I would like to report on our implementation progress and tell you about how you can get the latest information on the FSMA.

We recently unveiled a new, updated FSMA Web page at www.fda.gov/fsma1. I hope that some of you have already had the chance to take a look. It contains many useful materials such as FSMA requirements we have met, frequently asked questions, recent speeches, and upcoming events. In addition, a subscription service allows you to receive automatic e-mail updates when something new has been added to the FSMA Web page. Visit the subscription page2 to subscribe to this service. I hope you will encourage others to do the same.

As to our progress on implementation, we have met several requirements under the statute. These can be accessed through the FSMA Web page.

  • On April 4, we unveiled our new consumer-friendly recall search engine. It is a good example of our inclusive approach to implementation; FDA consulted with numerous stakeholder groups to gain their insights on how to most effectively and easily communicate recall information to consumers.
  • We also have completed our first report to Congress entitled, "Annual Report to Congress on Food Facilities, Food Imports, and FDA Foreign Offices Provisions of the FDA Food Safety and Modernization Act."
  • On April 27, FDA released the 4th edition of the "Fish and Fishery Products Hazards and Controls Guidance." It contains FDA's latest recommendations to the seafood industry for reducing and eliminating food safety hazards in the fish and fishery products they process.
  • Today, we issued an interim final rule that requires anyone importing food into the United States to inform FDA if any country has refused entry to the same product, including food for animals. This new requirement will provide the agency with more information about foods that are being imported, which improves the FDA's ability to target foods that may pose a significant risk to public health.
  • Also today, we released an interim final rule on administrative detention of food, which allows the FDA to administratively detain food the agency believes has been produced under insanitary or unsafe conditions. Previously, our ability to detain food products applied only when the agency had credible evidence that a food product presented was contaminated or mislabeled in a way that presented a threat of serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals.

As for outreach activities, we have held two public meetings on the new law. The first, held on March 29, focused on key import provisions; the second, held on April 20, focused on preventive controls in facilities.

We will continue to keep you up to date on our progress through stakeholder letters and also encourage you to check our Web site.

Best regards,

Michael R. Taylor
Deputy Commissioner for Foods