(HealthDay News) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is proposing two new food safety rules as part of the implementation of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act in an effort to shift the focus of food safety from reactive to preventive measures, according to a Jan. 4 news release issued by the agency.

The rules come following extensive outreach by FDA staff, including the touring of farms and meetings with industry, other regulatory agencies, and consumer communities. The agency sought to address the high burden of foodborne illness in the United States.

The two rules are part of a comprehensive reform effort aimed at preventing illness and addressing the safety of foods produced domestically and imported. The first rule would require makers of food sold in the United States, whether produced at a foreign- or domestic-based facility, to develop a formal plan for preventing their food products from causing foodborne illness. The rule would also require them to have plans for correcting any problems that arise. Compliance by larger food manufacturers would be expected within one year of the final rules, with smaller businesses given additional time. The second rule proposes enforceable safety standards for the production and harvesting of produce on farms. The rule relies on science- and risk-based standards to ensure safe production and harvesting practices. It is proposed that larger farms be in compliance 26 months after the rule is finalized. Public comment is open for the next 120 days on the proposed rules.

“We’ve worked to develop proposed regulations that can be both effective and practical across today’s diverse food system,” Michael R. Taylor, JD, the FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, said in a statement.

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