The FDA has been given the authority to issue a food recall directly, without the requirement for hard evidence of contamination. The agency is now empowered to seize food that it has any reason to believe is contaminated, adulterated, or misbranded. This change was designed to focus the FDA on prevention, moving away from its current reactive role. If the FDA issues a food recall, it also has power to suspend any food facility’s production should the agency decide that there is an associated health risk. Suspended facilities cannot distribute food, and the FDA may impose suspension or recall fees on the company.
Previously, food manufacturers were only required to register once; however, with the implementation of the new bill, facilities must renew registration between October and December of each even-numbered year.
The law has other agencies working on preparation for outbreaks. Health and Human Services and the Department of Homeland Security have been mandated to prepare specific response and recovery outlines to follow in the event of a foodborne illness outbreak. Additionally, grocery stores will be responsible for keeping customers abreast of all the latest recalls.
The FDA will be required to identify the most significant food threats and publish new outlines for food production handlers every two years. Each food production facility will be required to implement a written preventive control plan. The company’s written plan will be required to include all prevention controls such as controls at critical control points, along with verification, monitoring, corrective action, and recordkeeping methodologies. This hazard analysis requirement will ensure that food is not contaminated and will further ensure that food is not misbranded for allergen control. Additionally, the law gives the FDA the power to set nationwide standards for produce production and harvesting.