Proponents of food safety, such as The Center for Food Safety, are putting pressure on the FDA to implement the proposed regulations enacted under the Food Safety Modernization Act. Currently, there is an ongoing case between The Center for Food Safety and the FDA. The case has been presented to a California federal judge who is being urged to impose strict deadlines. The regulations that are being discussed are aimed at making the national food supply safer. Advocates for the Center for Food Safety argue that the FDA has missed deadlines set by Congress.
The multiple deadlines set by Congress originally expired on October 2011, January 2012, and July 2012. However, the FDA has not finalized the implementation of the provisions desired by food safety proponents of the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act. These provisions would regulate farms, food imports, food transportation, and the analysis of human and pet foods. Implementing these provisions is an urgent issue; food borne illnesses kill approximately 3,000 Americans each year.
The FDA argues that an unrealistic timeline was placed on them to fulfill the goals of this act. The agency claims that completing this task will take longer than expected because they are understaffed. Arguably, this delay can be seen as one of the side effects of the recent sequestration. The agency has submitted a set of rules to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in order to enact the law. However, the OMB has not yet approved these rules. Following the approval of these rules, the FDA will have to circulate the proposed rules for public comment. This process could take several months. The Center for Food Safety argues that OMB’s approval to promulgate the regulation is not necessary. They want to impose a court order that would mandate a deadline for the FDA. However, even if this order is granted, it is not certain that it will be strictly enforced due to the arbitrary nature of the regulation implementing process. The FDA is set to propose nine more regulations in early 2013. The future for these new regulations seems unpredictable; however, proponents of food safety are making a strong effort to stimulate progress. If you would like to make a comment regarding these new regulations, please contact us.