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Despite getting its industry guidelines out late, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Washington, D.C., requires that food facilities register–as part of the 2002 Bioterrorism Act–whether or not food from their facility enters interstate commerce. In addition, according to the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the facilities must provide more information to the government and re-register every even-numbered year. In October, the agency released revised guidance for industry to help food companies comply, even though it’s behind the schedule mandated under the FSMA. However, the deadline for food facilities to register remains Dec. 31.
According to the updated guidance, the FDA says it believes that facility registration will help make for a “quick, accurate and focused response” to bioterrorism or other food-related emergencies. The agency gives an example of how this registration system can be useful. For example, if the FDA receives information that soft drinks could be a target of bioterrorism, with an updated registry, the FDA is able to alert soft drink manufacturers, processors, packers and holders about the potential problems and coordinate a response.
A business is considered a food facility, according to the guidance, if it manufactures, processes, packs or holds food for human or animal consumption in the U.S. For more information on the guidance and on registering a business with the FDA, visit the agency’s website at www.fda.gov.