Stalling of FSMA Leads to Lawsuit Filed by Public Health Groups
Two public health groups recently took action into their own hands and filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
According to the Center for Food Safety and the Center for Environmental Health, FDA and OMB have continued to unlawfully delay the implementation of several critical food safety regulations, as required under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The stalling of these rules for more than a year and a half has led the plaintiffs to allege that the nation’s public health is in jeopardy.
A year after the FSMA was signed into law in January 2011 FDA failed to meet a key implementation date and could not check off any of the required items – including setting grocery store recall posting requirements and regulations for a Foreign Supplier Verification Program.
Even though President Obama reiterated his commitment to food safety during his State of the Union address in January 2012, seven FSMA-required regulations have yet to be implemented. Four of those are sitting at the OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs pending approval – 18 months after the law’s signing.
Some believe that the upcoming presidential election could be playing a factor in this unusually long delay, arguing that the implementation of such rules could be seen as “job-killing” regulations.
Both the Center for Food Safety and the Center for Environmental Health are seeking a court order requiring the FDA to implement the regulations by a court-imposed deadline and preventing OMB from delaying FDA’s compliance with that deadline.
The need for the passing of FSMA regulations has been recently highlighted by recurring foodborne illness outbreaks, leaving many to believe that the need for stricter food safety rules is growing.
What do you think is causing this delay? Will the public safety groups be successful in their lawsuit? Do you think the upcoming presidential election is having an effect on the implementation of food safety rules? Please share your comments below.
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