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Stricter FDA Rules For US Tuna Importers

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed two new rules that will add further regulation to the governing of imported food, including tuna and other seafood into the country.

As the top importing nation of tuna products, the U.S. imported over a huge 23 million cartons of canned tuna into its boarders in 2012.

The projected regulations are part of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and rule that food importers would be accountable for verifying that their foreign tuna processors and suppliers are implementing modern, prevention-orientated food safety practices.
While the new Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP) rule will require that tuna importers provide adequate assurances that the foreign suppliers produce food is in compliance with processes and procedures, including risk-based preventive controls, the third-party accreditation proposed rule will help the FDA ensure the competence and independence of third party auditors/certification bodies who conduct foreign food safety audits.
Even though it is already common for companies to conduct reviews of their foreign tuna suppliers, the proposed new regulations will see audits become a legal requirement in the U.S. for the first time.
Both of the measures come in response to the challenges of food safety in today’s global food system. Tuna is imported into the U.S. from over 20 different countries, and other foods are supplied by over 150 nations. Reports state that more than 90 percent of the seafood Americans eat comes from foreign countries.
FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg M.D. said: “We must work toward global solutions to food safety so that whether you serve your family food grown locally or imported you can be confident it is safe. The announcement of these two proposed rules will help to meet the challenges of out complex global food supply system. Our success will depend in large part on partnerships across nations, industries and business sectors.”
Comments are being accepted by the FDA on both of the new projected rules for another 119 days, links to which can be found on the FDA website.