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2011 FDA Food Safety Modernization Act

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Breaking News: President Obama signs Food Safety Modernization Act into law, giving FDA mandatory recall authority for all food products. New legislation considered “a critical improvement in FDA’s ability to protect the public health.”

FDA granted new powers in food recall authority

January 4, 2010 - In a move that many feel was long overdue, President Barack Obama signed the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act into law today, finally giving the Food & Drug Administration mandatory recall authority for all food products nationwide.

FDA’s new enforcement powers involve mandating comprehensive, prevention-based controls across the food supply, including corrective action plans. According to Commissioner of Food and Drugs, Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg, “FDA will have much more effective enforcement tools for ensuring those plans are adequate and properly implemented,” she said, “including mandatory recall authority when needed to swiftly remove contaminated food from the market.”

Other new powers granted to the FDA under the Food Safety Modernization Act:

  • The FDA will have a congressional mandate for risk-based inspections of food processing facilities.
  • The administration will have access to food facility records in cases where the agency believes that a food is likely to cause serious adverse health consequences.
  • A product tracing system will be established within the FDA to improve the government’s ability to track and trace food within the United States or offered for import into the country.
  • Increased enforcement powers with respect to imported food products.
  • A voluntary program through which food imports may receive expedited review if an importer has taken certain measures to assure the food’s safety.
  • The FDA may now enter into agreements with foreign governments to facilitate the inspection of registered foreign facilities. FDA may also now refuse admission to imported food if a foreign facility or country refuses to allow an FDA inspection.

Additionally, the Food Safety Modernization Act also directs the Department of Health and Human Services to help improve the training of food safety officials and authorizes grants for training, conducting inspections, building the capacity of laboratories and food safety programs, and other food safety activities.

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