Arlington, VA – Today, FMI – The Food Industry Association welcomed the introduction of the Food Traceability Enhancement Act in the U.S. House of Representatives by Reps. Scott Franklin (R-FL), Sanford Bishop (D-GA) and Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) that would address key implementation and compliance challenges with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Food Traceability Rule. The legislation would make targeted improvements to the rule that are necessary for more feasible industry compliance while continuing to enhance food safety. FMI President and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin offered the following statement. 

“There is nothing more important to FMI members and the food Industry than the safety of the food we make available to our customers and preventing the spread of foodborne illness. Because of their position in the supply chain, our food retail and wholesale members are often the first points of contact in outbreak investigations and serve as central resources in identifying potentially contaminated products that have entered the food supply so that they may be swiftly removed from the marketplace. 

“While we support the Food Safety Modernization Act, passed by Congress in 2011 with FMI’s support, the Food Traceability Rule implementing Section 204 of the law is overly complex and must be fixed, as implementation of the requirements set forth by FDA go well beyond that which Congress directed and are so burdensome as to not be achievable given currently available technology and other resources. The current rule will demand tremendous investments of time and resources across the entire food industry for recordkeeping, data management and systems changes, without necessarily improving the timeliness of food safety investigations or preventing tainted products from entering the supply chain. 

“Achieving a workable system across the entire supply chain to collect and maintain all data required under the rule by the January 2026 compliance date is simply not feasible. Action from Congress is needed to ensure FDA first conducts pilot projects with industry to determine how best to improve the rule such that industry compliance is achievable to allow continued assurance that food safety and prevention of foodborne illness can remain our top priority. 

“We applaud Reps. Franklin, Bishop and Panetta for their leadership on the Food Traceability Enhancement Act, which will resolve key challenges in implementing the rule in a way that enhances food safety without unnecessary burdens and costs throughout the food supply chain. We encourage Members of Congress to cosponsor this commonsense legislation and look forward to working with them to ensure this legislation is passed this year, even as we continue to collaborate with FDA to seek regulatory implementation solutions.”