Yesterday and last week, we alerted you to some of the proposed regulations of FDA's Food Safety Modernization Act, and the need for registering your comments by Nov. 15. As of today, you can't enter your comments on the federal website. Now, some groups are calling for an extension of the comment period.
As noted in my blog, FDA Food Safety Overreach, the rules go far beyond food processing. The latest proposed rule impacts the animal feed industry and farmers who feed animals. It's titled "Current Good Manufacturing Practice and Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Food for Animals." So if you raise feed for other farms, guess what – you're likely not exempted from rules that require monitoring to minimize feed risks.
Family farm and consumer advocates have been working for weeks to ensure meaningful public comment on the FDA's proposed food safety rules. Now the government website that serves as a portal for the public's comments on food safety is offline, out-of-service, or even refusing to accept comments.
"This is potentially disenfranchising thousands of farmers and consumers, and is flat-out unacceptable," says Will Fantle, co-director of the Wisconsin-based Cornucopia Institute.
"We have been working for months, as have many other organizations across the country, to raise public awareness of FSMA and the proposed rules developed to implement it. With the public comment period set to close on November 15, we have received numerous reports that they cannot send in timely
The FDA's draft rules saddle local and organic family-scale farmers with unnecessary and expensive prevention practices more appropriate for riskier industrial processing and distribution systems, contends Fantle. And as proposed, the rules spill over into water quality and livestock feed quality.
Check it out for yourself
FDA's comment portal, for the two dockets are found at http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FDA-2011-N-0921-0199 and http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FDA-2011-N-0920-0188.
This message was sporadically reported by members of the public over the past several weeks. At other times, citizens have reportedly been advised to resubmit any comments they might have posted while other visitors to the website, in November, were greeted with a message that "planned system maintenance" was being conducted and would be completed by Aug. 6.