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FDA News

January 15, 2009

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Christopher Kelly, 301-796-4676
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FDA Issues Guidances for Industry to Improve the Safety of Food, Feed and Drugs

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today issued three guidances designed to help ensure the safety of FDA-regulated products in the supply chain. The documents issued today include the following:

"The guidance documents reflect the FDA's continued vigorous efforts to minimize the chances of unsafe products reaching American consumers," said Jeffrey Shuren, M.D., J.D., associate commissioner for policy and planning.

The Final Guidance for Industry on Voluntary Third-Party Certification Programs for Foods and Feeds discusses the attributes of a third-party certification program that would merit the FDA's confidence in the quality of the program's audit. The guidance, finalizing a draft published on July 10, 2008, is intended as one of the steps in the FDA's future recognition of voluntary third-party certification programs for foods and animal feeds. The document makes clear that it applies to any third-party certification body, including a private entity or a non-FDA federal, state, local or foreign regulatory body. Third-party certification programs can augment the ability of the FDA and the importing community to verify product safety.

The Draft Guidance for Industry on Submission of Laboratory Packages by Accredited Laboratories is intended to enhance the quality and reliability of test results submitted by importers to demonstrate that their products meet the FDA's requirements. The guidance advises importers how to use accredited -- rather than non-accredited -- laboratories and makes recommendations about the quality and type of test data and information that these laboratories should produce in support of test results submitted to the FDA. The draft guidance is also intended to reduce the likelihood that an importer will select only favorable test results to submit to the FDA.

The Draft Guidance for Industry on Standards for Securing the Drug Supply Chain – Standardized Numerical Identification for Prescription Drug Packages is the first of several guidances and regulations that the FDA may issue to implement Section 913 of the Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act of 2007. This guidance recommends the standards that industry should use for the identification of individual packages containing prescription drugs. These standards will facilitate the adoption of a uniform electronic track and trace system for prescription drugs to further improve their safety and security. Both draft guidances have a 90-day comment period.

All three guidances support the FDA's import strategy emphasizing prevention of harm, intervention when risks are identified, and rapid response after harm has occurred.

The FDA's guidance documents do not establish legally enforceable responsibilities. Instead, guidances describe the agency's current thinking on a topic and should be viewed only as recommendations, unless specific regulatory or statutory requirements are cited.

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