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Federal Appeals Court Refuses Government Request to Further Delay Food Safety Rules

November 5th, 2013
Center for Food Safety

Rule Will Help Prevent a Terrorist Attack on Our Food Supply

Late yesterday the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) motion to delay issuing a draft rule required by the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). After FDA failed to meet deadlines mandated by Congress, Center for Food Safety sued the agency. Ruling in favor of CFS, the court re-established deadlines for FSMA's rules, starting with all the drafts being issued by November 30, 2013. FDA has appealed the decision and then sought a stay of the injunction pending the outcome of their appeals. Today the Ninth Circuit rejected FDA’s appeal for an extension but granted the agency an additional 16 days to make up for time lost due to the government shutdown. 

George Kimbrell, lead attorney with Center for Food Safety, today released the following statement:

“Congress passed the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) to end the preventable foodborne illness epidemic in this country.  But without its implementing rules, the statute is an empty vessel.  Congress knew this was literally an issue of life or death, which is why it included mandatory deadlines in the law for its regulations.  After FDA utterly failed to meet even a single deadline, we sued them.  This summer we won a comprehensive victory on behalf of the public interest, with a federal court declaring that FDA had violated the law and issuing an injunction with new deadlines for FSMA’s completion as soon as practicable. 

“Unfortunately, instead of focusing its resources on complying with Congress’s orders, the agency has stubbornly continued to fight in court, now asking the court of appeals relieve them of their obligations.  CFS has continued to vigorously oppose them, in order to protect the public health by ensuring that FSMA’s urgently needed rules are not subject to any further unlawful and unwarranted delay.  Today we are pleased to announce that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed with us that FDA must publish the draft FSMA rules by the upcoming court-ordered deadlines.  Except for a two week extension to account for the government shutdown, the Court denied FDA’s motion for a stay of the injunction while the agency appeals the decision.”   

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About Center for Food Safety
Center for Food Safety is a national, non-profit, membership organization founded in 1997 to protect human health and the environment by curbing the use of harmful food production technologies and by promoting organic and other forms of sustainable agriculture. CFS maintains offices in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, California and Portland, Oregon. More information can be found at www.centerforfoodsafety.org.

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