The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced July 26 the drafts of two new food safety rules that would hold foreign food suppliers and importers accountable for the safety of the food they bring into the United States.

United Fresh is reviewing the proposed rules for any red flags or problems.

The proposed regulations, the Foreign Supplier Verification Programs for Importers of Food for Humans and Animals, and Accreditation of Third-party Auditors are part of the FDA overall Produce Safety and Preventive Controls rules.

Since the first of the year, United Fresh has brought together member company experts from each segment of the produce supply chain to discuss the proposed rules. United will use that same process in the review of FDA's draft rules on imports and third-party auditors to provide comments to FDA.

"Initially, we don't see any surprises in FDA's draft rules on imported foods and third-party auditor accreditation," said David Gombas, United Fresh senior vice president for food safety and technology. "However, it's important that we thoughtfully review them in a line-by-line fashion, including analysis of their interaction with other FSMA draft rules, to ensure they advance food safety and are workable for the industry."

Comments on the proposed rules on foreign supplier verification and third-party auditor accreditation are due within 120 days of the July 29, 2013 publication in the Federal Register. FDA has indicated that the comment period for the draft Preventive Controls and Produce Safety rules will be extended 60 days past the current Sept.16 deadline.

To find out more about the rules and FDA’s proposed requirements, go to http://iuf.unitedfresh.org/newsletters/2013/08/01.php#2