The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed a new food traceability rule to improve recordkeeping standards for multiple commodities. The rule is being proposed as part of the FDA’s New Era of Smarter Food Safety Blueprint. The proposed rule, “Requirements for Additional Traceability Records for Certain Foods,” will implement Section 204 of the Food Safety Modernization Act.
“When we say traceability, what we are really talking about is the ability to track a food at every step of the supply chain,” FDA Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response Frank Yiannas said in a news release. “While limited to certain foods, this proposed rule would create a first-of-its-kind standardized approach to traceability recordkeeping, paving the way for industry to adopt and leverage more digital, tech-enabled traceability systems both in the near term and the future.”
The FDA has also published a draft of the Food Traceability List, which details the items that would be affected by the proposed rule. The list includes leafy greens, melons, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, fresh-cut fruits and vegetables, tropical fruits, and others. The rule will require manufacturers, processors, packers, and those who hold foods identified on the Food Traceability List to enhance recordkeeping protocols. Records will need to be kept on critical tracking events in the supply chain such as growing, shipping, receiving, creating, and transforming the foods.
The FDA indicated that the proposed food traceability rule draws upon some standards that have already been adopted by industry members. The new rule will standardize the requirements across commodities to help reduce the time required for tracing contaminated foods back through the supply chain. The more comprehensive recordkeeping standards will allow for more precise product recalls in the event of contaminated foods being identified. The comment period for the food traceability rule will take place for 120 days from September 23 when it was published in the Federal Register.