A new interim rule, consistent with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FMSA) and issued by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows the FDA to "access records pertaining to articles of food that the Secretary of Health and Human Services believes in a reasonable manner" would cause adverse health consequences to humans or animals, according to a government website.
Implementing the interim rule, which is effective March 1, is the FDA's latest step in complying with the FMSA, which was amended on Jan. 4, and is expected to improve the FDA's ability to respond to and contain safety problems with the human and animal food supply. The goal of the rule is to allow the FDA to "focus more on preventing food safety problems rather than relying primarily on reacting to problems after they occur."
"The law also gives FDA important new tools to better ensure the safety of imported foods and directs FDA to build an integrated national food safety system in partnership with state and local authorities," reads the interim rule.
The rule also arms the FDA with new enforcement authorities to help it achieve higher rates of compliance with prevention and risk-based food safety standards, and to ensure the safety of imported foods.
There will be a public comment period for the rule until May 23.