The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released a proposed update to traceability recordkeeping requirements for foods considered “high risk” as sources of foodborne illness. The proposed rule would apply to entities that manufacture, process, pack or hold foods on the Food Traceability List and would require companies to “establish and maintain records containing information on critical tracking events in the supply chain for these designated foods, such as growing, shipping, receiving, creating, and transforming the foods.” The rule reflects the terms of a settlement FDA reached with the Center for Food Safety in a lawsuit intended to compel the agency to meet requirements set forth in the Food Safety Modernization Act.

“The availability of the traceability records that are set out in the proposed rule would also help limit the scope of recalls and in some instances, allow the FDA to better target consumer advice, avoiding blanket alerts on whole commodity sectors,” Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response Frank Yiannas said in a press release. “I am excited to continue collaborating with stakeholders as we work to finalize this rule, and further enhance traceability. We are encouraging you to be involved in this process by commenting on the proposed rule. We look forward to announcing public meetings to discuss this proposed rule with everyone interested in food safety and value input from all stakeholders during the comment period.” Comments on the rule will be accepted until January 21, 2021.

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For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.