“In order to fulfill our public health mission and enhance the safety of imported foods in a global world, we must embrace new approaches that take into account the entire supply chain and its complexity," said Frank Yiannas, FDA deputy commissioner for food policy and response. "This draft guidance addresses the FDA’s oversight of foods imported from countries covered by a Systems Recognition Arrangement, specifically adjustments to activities that include inspections, screening and sampling. It advances our New Era of Smarter Food Safety initiative and reflects our larger effort to take a risk-based approach to food safety, consistent with the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act.
“Systems recognition is a partnership between the FDA and a foreign regulatory counterpart (referred to as participating agency or agencies), in which the agencies have concluded that they operate comparable regulatory programs that yield similar food safety outcomes. It is not only an efficient way to help ensure that safe food is imported into the U.S., it also contributes to a safer global food supply. The FDA can leverage regulatory partners’ food safety systems, reallocate resources in a more risk-based manner, and improve and expand our information sharing on food safety issues. In addition, we can improve efficiency as we avoid duplicating food safety-related work in countries that have been determined to produce similar food safety outcomes through an assessment and recognition process.
“Food safety issues and outbreaks can happen in all countries and systems recognition accounts for this reality. Systems recognition assessments focus not only on the ability of food safety systems to help ensure food safety, but also on the ability of food safety authorities to identify, address and contain food safety issues and outbreaks that may arise, learn from past events and strengthen the system over time. The assessments are additional tools that the FDA has to help ensure that consumers can have confidence that their food is safe, whether produced in the U.S. or elsewhere."