FDA Delays Food Registration Period

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WASHINGTON — Today was supposed to be the first day food facilities could re-register information with the Secretary of the Department of Human Health and Services.

But FDA has put on hold the biennial registration requirements. The government agency says on its website it is not accepting food facility registration renewals at this time.

FDA is delaying the registration renewals that are mandated under a 2011 law after the Grocery Manufacturers Association and numerous other trade associations recently sought guidance in meeting the registration requirements.

"It would be extremely inefficient and costly for companies to re-register shortly after October 1st based on the old procedures, only to find out later they have to do it all over again after FDA clarifies the new procedures in its guidance," wrote Leon Bruner, senior vice president, science and regulatory affairs, and chief science officer of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, in a Sept. 21 letter to the Office of Management and Budget. "Thus, it will be difficult, if not impossible, for food facilities to effectively and efficiently meet FSMA's registration renewal mandate without guidance from FDA."

The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act requires domestic and foreign facilities that manufacture, process, pack or hold food for consumption in the U.S. to register every two years starting with a renewal period stretching from October 1, 2012 through December 31, 2012. The requirements apply to beverages, conventional foods and supplements, said Justin Prochnow, a Denver-based shareholder with the international law firm of Greenberg Traurig, LLP.

FDA recommends companies check its website or sign up for FSMA updates to learn when the registration renewal becomes available.

The agency has explained the registration information will help it find the location and source of a bioterrorism event or foodborne illness.

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