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FDA misses deadline for key Food Safety Modernization Act provisions

January 2012 marks the one-year anniversary of President Obama signing into law the Food Safety Modernization Act, which aims to prevent petfood recalls and ensure a safe petfood supply.

One of the key implementation dates from the Act was January 4, after which date the following significant steps were to have been taken by the US Food and Drug Administration: guidance for very small business exemptions from HARPC requirements;guidance related to intentional adulteration of food and mitigation strategies; “National Agriculture and Food Defense Strategy” issued to Congress and public; study concerning unique identification numbers for food facilities and brokers; designation of “high-risk foods” for which additional recordkeeping would be required; designation of five “Food Safety Centers of Excellence” to respond to outbreaks; grocery store recall posting requirements; and regulations for a Foreign Supplier Verification Program.

Yet, according to, the agency has missed the first set of missed benchmarks for 2012's anniversary deadline as none of these significant steps have been accomplished.

“Although it can feel frustrating to wait on an overstuffed federal agency to provide more details about how it will soon dramatically enhance its regulatory authority – I do not find it to be too frustrating”, said Ben England, founder and CEO of “In one sense, however, these are very complicated guidances and regulations FDA is expected to issue. It is better that it take longer and perhaps get it right.”

The next major deadline in FSMA’s implementation timeline is July 4, when more guidance documents are due from FDA concerning traceability and tracking, consumer information reporting, a third-party auditing program and more. The final implementation dates for FSMA are January 4, 2013, and July 4, 2013.

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