In January 2011, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was signed into law by U.S. President Barack Obama. This Act strengthens the authority of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in order to ensure a safe food supply for the United States. It changes the focus of the FDA to the prevention of unsafe foods instead of food contamination response. The first rules of FSMA will come into effect July 3, 2011.
The first rule increases the FDA’s power to prevent unsafe food product from entering the marketplace.
FDA will be able to detain food products for up to 30 days when they have reason to believe the safety of the product has been compromised. Previously, FDA could only hold product if there was credible evidence that a food product was contaminated or mislabeled in a way that presented a threat of serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals.
The second rule deals with food imported into the United States. The FDA will require importers to disclose any instances in which the product has been refused entry into other countries. This will increase the information that the FDA will use to determine potential safety risks and to prevent serious health risks to the U.S. public.