Court halts further FSMA deadline extensions

Breakfast_BigStock_blogA northern California District Court judge has ruled the U.S. Food and Drug Administration may not extend Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) deadlines further.

The August 13 ruling is part of a lawsuit filed by the Center for Food Safety (CFS) against the FDA over FSMA policy deadlines  the agency has missed. Congress had ordered the rules completed by last July; however, there were delays in publishing proposed rules. FDA also has extended comment periods on some of the rules, including the preventive control and produce rules. CFS filed the lawsuit last August.

In her ruling, Judge Phyllis Hamilton denied an extension for the intentional adulteration rule while affirming a final extension for the sanitary transport rule until May 31, 2014. The final deadline for the rule will remain as June 30, 2015.

However, FDA has said that “it is unable to complete the proposed rules in the remaining two areas (intentional adulteration and sanitary transport) by November 30, 2013, because of the complexity of the issue, the amount of work requires, and other reasons it previously argued in its motion for summary judgment,” according to the ruling.

Earlier this summer, the court ordered the FDA to publish all proposed rules by November 30.

“The court understands the FDA’s position, and is in sympathy with it, but remains of the opinion that the dispute here is between the FDA and Congress,” Hamilton wrote. “This court is unwilling to grant extension after extension or to permit the FDA to continually delay publication of this rule, in the face of the clear Congressional directive that this be a closed-end process.”

Read the full ruling here. For more on FSMA from Neogen’s blog, click here.

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