FDA to Establish Program for Food Testing

FDA to Establish Program for Food Testing

Under the new requirements of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the FDA is proposing the establishment of a program to test food by accredited laboratories. Once established, the program will require testing of human and animal food in certain circumstances by accredited laboratories. Those laboratories will be required to follow FDA standards and will be subject to FDA oversight.

Currently when FDA testing is required, it is performed by private laboratories that may conform to a variety of standards. However, under the new proposal, only laboratories accredited by an FDA recognized body will be able to conduct food testing in the following circumstances:

  • Testing conducted to comply with specific FDA testing requirements applied to address an identified or suspected food safety problem (including certain tests of shell eggs, bottled water, and sprouts);
  • Testing conducted to provide evidence to support the admissibility of imported food into U.S. commerce (e.g., testing conducted for a food that has been detained due to an appearance of adulteration);
  • Testing conducted to support the removal of a food from an import alert through successful consecutive testing;
  • Testing conducted to address an identified or suspected food safety problem and presented to FDA as part of evidence for an informal hearing before a mandatory recall order, as part of a corrective action plan submitted after an order suspending the registration of a food facility, or as part of evidence submitted for an appeal of an administrative detention order;
  • Testing conducted in response to a food testing order, a new procedure proposed by this rule to address an identified or suspected food safety problem.

The new proposal is intended to improve the accuracy and reliability of testing. We will follow up with more details as the program is implemented.