Background

The Food and Drug Administration announced April 19 the signing of an arrangement with the Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources recognizing each other’s food safety systems as comparable. The FDA extended similar recognition to the food safety systems of New Zealand in 2012 and Canada in 2016.

According to an FDA press release, domestic systems provide the baseline level of public health protection that helps assure the safety of exported foods. Systems recognition helps the FDA focus more on potential risks when planning the scope and frequency of its inspection activities, including foreign facility inspections, import field exams, and import sampling. However, systems recognition also establishes a framework for regulatory cooperation in a variety of other areas, ranging from scientific collaboration to outbreak response.

The FDA states that systems recognition is voluntary and not required for a country to export foods to the U.S. In addition, imports from Australia must continue to comply with U.S. statutory and regulatory requirements to ensure safety and proper labeling, including the standards adopted under the Food Safety Modernization Act.

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