Two consumer advocacy groups recently sued the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for delaying the compliance deadline for the agency’s 2014 menu labeling rule for a fourth time. The menu labeling rule requires menu items offered for sale in restaurants with 20 or more locations to disclose nutritional information and the number of calories in each standard menu item. FDA and Congress previously extended or delayed compliance with the menu labeling rule three times in 2015 and 2016. Before the latest delay, the most recent “compliance date” for the menu labeling rule was May 5, 2017.
Most breweries have numerous dealings with the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) and understand the need to comply with TTB regulations; this includes preparation for TTB audits and inspections. But the TTB is not the only federal agency with the authority to conduct a brewery inspection.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also inspects food facilities, including breweries, to ensure they comply with FDA regulatory requirements. The FDA may conduct inspections as the result of routine surveillance, product quality issues, consumer complaints, or recalls. The agency also may conduct inspections to follow up on a previous inspection or an FDA enforcement action. The FDA also contracts with state and local food protection programs to conduct inspections and provide certification and training.
FDA has published as part of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) a final rule concerning mitigation strategies to protect food against intentional adulteration. The rule will require domestic and foreign food facilities that are required to register as food facilities under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) to address hazards that may be introduced with the intention to cause wide scale public health harm. More specifically, under this regulation, both domestic and foreign food facilities are required to complete and maintain a written food defense plan that assesses their potential vulnerabilities to deliberate contamination where the intent is to cause wide-scale public health harm. Facilities will now have to identify and implement mitigation strategies to address these vulnerabilities, establish food defense monitoring procedures and corrective actions, verify that the system is working, ensure that personnel assigned to the vulnerable areas receive appropriate training and maintain certain records.