Dr. Peter Lurie, President of the Center For Science In The Public
Interest (CSPI) and a former executive at the nation's Food
Administration, makes no bones about what he thinks of the FDA under
Trump administration deciding to delay indefinitely enforcing four key
provisions of the landmark Food
Modernization Act (FSMA).
FSMA is a law passed in 2011. It marked the biggest overhaul of the
food safety laws in 70 years.
Americans, regardless of their political
affiliation, want safe food," writes Lurie in a statement released on
Thursday in response to the news of the delay in enforcing key
the law. "That’s why the
Food Safety Modernization Act passed with broad
bipartisan support. Make no mistake: The
Trump administration is today undermining that
landmark legislation by indefinitely delaying
the rules that would put it into effect. The announcement is a
anniversary present, given that FSMA was signed
into law on this very day seven long years ago."
Lurie noted in
statement that the FSMA was intended to cover the entire food chain,
to fork, and that the Trump administration’s "new guidance" would
create a gap in that safety chain by exempting, at least for now, some
who harvest, package, and hold food produced on farms.
guidance would eliminate the written company-to-company food safety
required under the final FSMA rules that identify dangerous pathogens
should be addressed by downstream processors. Undoing those
the rules threatens to expose consumers to hazards like Salmonella and E.
coli," wrote Lurie.
He adds that
when these same food safety rules were created, and then
a finite period of time under
the Obama administration, the
rules were subject to public notice and comment
published. "During that period, industry had adequate
raise the very concerns used by FDA today to justify today’s
announcement. But under the Trump Administration,
these indefinite delays
are being unveiled in a surprise final guidance without public input."
In a news
January 4, FDA
Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, said that
although the FDA has been working hard to implement provisions of the
"we recognize that such a fundamental change in our food safety
may require adjustments along the way to address issues that had not
added that the agency values feedback on the rule changes and
challenges that farmers, manufacturers, and other stakeholders face as
rules are implemented.
provisions the FDA doesn't intend to enforce include aspects of the
definition, requirements related to written assurances from a
customers, requirements for importers of food contact substances, and
requirements related to certain human food by-products for use as
within three of FSMA's rules that relate to human and animal food
foreign supplier verification, and growing standards for human food.
action will help reduce the burdens on both industry and government and
the agency the ability to consider the most effective and efficient way
forward," Gottlieb said.