In a speech last month to the National Food Policy Conference, Food and Drug Administration acting Commissioner Dr. Lester M. Crawford said FDA plans to modernize the good manufacturing practices (GMPs) used for foods.

"Since food GMPs are an integral part of the nation's control over food safety problems, it is essential that they adequately address the needs of today's food processes and foodborne hazards," said Crawford. "We believe this effort, like our work on current good manufacturing practices for medical products, will improve the safety of these products and create new opportunities for introducing better manufacturing techniques."

FDA established an internal Food GMP Modernization Working Group in July 2002 to evaluate current food GMPs. The group studied the impact of the food GMPs on food safety, and the impact of revised regulations on food safety and the economic consequences of the revisions.

The agency will hold three public meetings this summer to receive data, information, and other input on food GMP modernization from stakeholders. The meetings will be held in College Park, MD, and Chicago, IL, with a third location to be determined.

FDA will announce the meeting details in the Federal Register. To keep the meetings and comments focused, the Federal Register will include a list of questions on GMPs that FDA would like participants to address.

FDA will evaluate the information received, determine how to revise the food GMP regulations and publish a summary of its findings in September. The agency will proceed through rulemaking, if necessary.

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