In a highly unusual move, the FDA has re-floated proposed food safety rules under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) following a deluge of public comments.
The National Coffee Association led an industry effort to exempt green coffee from compliance with “onerous” food safety rules that ignore the fact that coffee is a low-risk food that warrants a lesser degree of scrutiny.
FDA explicitly recognizes that the type and characteristics of a food should be considered in calibrating safety plans that are compliant with FSMA. FDA also incorporates the concepts of “probability” and “severity” in assigning appropriate scrutiny levels to individual food-related risks, reported NCA in a membership alert.
“Among other things, they recognize that existing controls in place at food-handling facilities already achieve food safety goals,” writes NCA.
NCA argued that existing safety plans, which are typically customized to suit the physical and sanitary needs of individual facilities and the foods they handle, already provide targeted security that new plans, applied generically and proscriptively, cannot match. In the supplemental rules, FDA specifically recognizes that safety plans can be “tailored” to the individual food facility in question.
FDA is under a court order that requires the agency to have final rules in place by Aug. 15, 2015. “NCA anticipates that its ongoing efforts, along with those of many others from throughout the broader food industry, will result in final rules that will ensure safety without unnecessarily encumbering commerce,” according to the release.