June 25, 2024

FSMA Releases Rule to Let Authorities Detain Adulterated Food

FDA-logoThe Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released one of the rules under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) yesterday, giving public health officials the authority to detain contaminated and adulterated food. Before this rule, government officials could only hold a food when it had “credible evidence” that it presented a health risk to humans or animals. The FDA can now detain food if it believes the product is “adulterated or misbranded.”

The rule “Criteria Used to Order Administrative Detention of Food for Human or Animal Consumption” was adopted without change. Some comments were posted on the interim rule suggested changes, but they were dismissed.

In a press release, officials said, “before the passage of FSMA, FDA was able to detain a food product only when it had credible evidence that a food product presented a threat of serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals. Under the final rule, the FDA can detain food if it believes that the food is adulterated or misbranded. The agency can keep the products out of the marketplace for a maximum of 30 days while the agency determines whether to take further enforcement action, such as seizure.”

The rule will be published to the Federal Register today. This rule, along with other rules under FSMA, lets the FDA focus on preventing foodborne illness and food safety issues rather than reacting to them after they occur and people get sick or die. The FDA will continue to issue warning letters and other actions to correct problems with food safety in commerce.

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