Arlington, VA – Today, FMI – The Food Industry Association Chief Public Policy Officer Jennifer Hatcher issued the following statement on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) recently released final rule establishing additional traceability recordkeeping requirements for companies that manufacture, process, pack, or hold foods on the Food Traceability List or foods that contain these listed foods as ingredients. The final rule is designed to implement one of the final segments of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) – Section 204 - to provide a means for additional traceability of high-risk foods.  

“There is nothing more important to FMI and the food Industry than ensuring that consumers have 100% confidence that the products our members make and sell are safe. We supported the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and continue to support and work to protect public health through appropriate product tracing and recordkeeping practices for high-risk foods.  

“We will analyze the 597-page final rule on traceability released today to understand the range of its impact on our member companies. Since the proposed rule was released, we have continually urged FDA to release a Supplemental Rule rather than moving straight to a final rule given the volume and complexity of changes commenters urged FDA to make. We believed a Supplemental Rule was a critical step to ensure that a final regulation is consistent with the statutory mandate and realistic in terms of the ability of companies of all sizes to comply.   

“It is already clear that implementation of the requirements in the rule will demand tremendous investments of time and resources across the entire food industry, and it looks like this rule significantly exceeds the statutory authority, both written and intended, by Congress. FMI and our members work every day to further strengthen the safety of our food supply and the continued rapid removal of any impacted products. This work needs to be done in the most efficient, consistent manner across all elements of the food supply chain with the least possible impact on food prices, greatest impact on results, and consistency with the intent of the law passed in 2011. Based on our quick review of this incredibly complex rule, it does not accomplish this. 

“FMI and our members remain committed to further strengthening the most robust food safety system in the world and will continue to work every day to improve and enhance our food safety efforts and culture.”