August 23, 2016 – ARLINGTON, VA – Food Marketing Institute (FMI) Vice President, Food Safety Programs, Hilary Thesmar PhD, RD, offered the following statement on today’s announcement by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on its draft guidance for the Preventive Controls for Human Food rule.

Thesmar said, “While the Preventive Controls rule embodies one of the basic pillars of FSMA, which is to thwart the contamination of food and to prevent foodborne illness from occurring, food retailers are well aware that prevention starts with strong good manufacturing practices followed by conducting a rigorous hazard analysis to identify and evaluate any known and reasonably foreseeable hazards.
“FMI appreciates FDA's acknowledgement that the ‘relatively rare occurrence of significant safety concerns associated with the manufacture of food contact substances,’ and finished products, together with FDA’s extensive premarket review of these substances, provides adequate assurances of safety.

“We’re also encouraged that FDA extended certain compliance dates on several FSMA provisions, including requirements related to food contact substances under the foreign supplier verification rule. FMI and other retail associations have been working closely with FDA to seek clarification on the food contact substances issue, and we look forward to continued engagement with the agency as they consider how to best address our concerns.

“We remain confident in the food supply system and the U.S. government oversight is just part of the equation, as traceability and transparent business relationships are critical to the integrity of the food supply. We applaud the agency for providing essential guidance and reiterate the need for clarification in a timely manner for all of the outstanding questions under the final FSMA rules and we look forward to offering comments on behalf of the nation’s grocery stores and continuing our efforts with the agency.”