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FDA sets deadlines for food safety regulation implementation

The regulations required by the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act will be fully in place by spring 2016, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The regulations for preventative control for animal and human food at factories and warehouses must be finalized by August 2015.

The process of finalizing the regulations has been troubled by delays, which prompted the Center for Food Safety (CFA) to file a lawsuit against the FDA over the missed statutory deadlines. A consent agreement filed on February 20 in federal district court in Oakland, Calif., cements a staggered set of deadlines for the rules. "This is a major victory for the health and safety of the American people," said George Kimbrell, the Center's lead attorney. "The first major update to our food safety laws since 1938 must now be implemented in a close-ended, timely fashion. That means safer food for American families."

An earlier federal ruling sided with the CFA, directing the agency to complete all of the rules by 2015. The agency appealed, and Michael Taylor, the FDA's deputy commissioner for foods, told The Hill late last year that the court-ordered deadlines would be "enormously challenging." As part of the settlement agreement, the FDA has dropped its appeal in exchange for a new set of deadlines, according to the CFS.

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