FDA proposes food-tracking regs

FDA news release

The Food and Drug Administration has proposed regulations requiring companies that transport, distribute or import food to establish and maintain records of the transactions.

The regulations, announced May 6, are part of the FDA's plans for a food tracking and identification system, which is intended to speed the response to a food contamination incident. The system, one of several provisions mandated by last year's Bioterrorism Act, would allow officials to know where food has been and where it is going.

The regulations apply to companies that manufacture, pack, process, transport, hold or import food in the United States, as well as to foreign businesses that pack, hold or process food in the United States.

Companies must maintain records on perishable foods for one year and keep all other food records for two years. The regulations also require that these records be made available within four hours of an FDA request during normal business hours, and within 8 hours at night and on weekends.

Companies will have six months from the date the final rule is published to be in compliance with the rules. Small businesses will have 12 months to comply.

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