September 23, 2018

FSMA Imported Foods Rule Takes Effect Today

FDA-logoOne of the new rules mandated by the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is being put into effect today. the “Information Required in Prior Notice of Imported Food” is now a final rule and is the law of the land. This rule is designed to stop contaminated food at U.S. borders. If a food that is waiting for clearance into the country has been refused entry by another country, it will be rejected at the border.

Food importers must follow this rule, which was originally put into place in 2002 after 9/11. The rule states, “for purposes of this regulation, FDA considers ‘refused entry’ to mean a refusal of entry or admission of human or animal food based on food safety reasons, such as intentional or unintentional contamination of an article of food. This is consistent with the intent of the provision, which is to provide FDA with additional information to better identify imported food shipments that may pose a safety or security risk to U.S. consumers.”

Anyone who has submitted prior notice of imported food, including food for animals, must report any country to which the article has been refused entry. This rule is part of the Public Health Security and BIoterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002, which was signed into law on June 12, 2002.

This rule has been in place as an interim rule since May 2011. There were no changes to the final rule. There were only fifteen comments published in the Federal Register; none objected to the rule. Most were asking for more information and definition about terms and phrases in the rule.

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