BY DAN FLYNN Food Safety News
In implementing its new Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the United States wants to boldly go where no government has gone before in protecting food imports, but the European Union (EU) doesn’t like it.
Carlos Alvarez Antolinez, an EU food safety official stationed in Washington D.C., told the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) Monday that the 27 member EU countries he represents has some significant issues with FSMA.
Third party auditing, inspections, and foreign supply verification procedures top the list of the EU’s concerns with the new U.S. law. With governmental authority for a continent of 500 million people speaking 28 languages, the EU is also in a position to stop what it does not like.
“We have been very grateful to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA),” Antolinez said. He said the EU has remained in constant dialogue with FDA since President Obama signed the new food safety law in January 2011, and seemed to suggest somewhat humorously that the U.S. and the EU might be more at impasse if the American government were further along in implementing the new law.
FDA has drafted the implementing regulations, but the White House’s Executive Office of Management and Budget (OMB) have held those up for months.
The EU is concerned that with the FSMA, the U.S. will be reaching out to individual companies in its member countries rather than maintaining a “government-to-government” approach for ensuring food safety, Antolinez says.