Produce and food
companies will receive guidance on how they will use an online portal to
alert the Food and Drug Administration on possible food safety problems.
The guidance, published
June 11 in the Federal
Register, will help food companies understand how to report
food products that could make consumers ill. The online portal should open
"They are a little
late," said Kathy Means, vice president of government relations and
public affairs for the Produce Marketing Association, Newark, Del. Means
said the registry was first outlined in a 2007 law - the FDA Amendments Act
of 2007 - and was supposed to have been operational by September 2008.
Means said the registry -
which is designed for companies that register with the FDA under the 2002
Bioterrorism Act - is an online communication system for food marketers to
let the FDA know when food companies have had an incident related to food
safety. The portal is not intended for food recalls, which are handled
separately, and Means said not all food safety related incidents will need
to be reported to the FDA.
"If you have control
of the product, then you don't have to file this report," Means said.
"It is only when it moves into commerce do you have to do something
The FDA said a 45-day
comment period is anticipated for the June 11 guidance, making July 27 the
last day for comments.
"People will need to
know that this exists and is a tool they can use and are expected to
use," she said.
The online portal is for
FDA use only and would not be open to the public, Means said.
Food safety legislation
being considered in the House of Representatives may also include
provisions for a reportable food registry, Means said. Currently, she said
a food safety draft bill at the House Energy and Commerce Committee would
ask farms, retailers, importers and restaurants to use the FDA registry.