WASHINGTON – The Food and Drug Administration announced on Sept. 28 it is delaying its food facility registration efforts. Under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), all food plants must register with the Food and Drug Administration, with renewals due in even-numbered years. The normal window for registration was to be Oct. 1 to Dec. 31.

“We will not be accepting food facility registration renewals,” the FDA said in a statement posted on FDA.gov. The agency urged industry executives to stay abreast of developments and offered email updates on FSMA programs.

“We believe this is a postponement rather than a retraction of the requirement,” said AIB International in an alert circulated Oct. 2.

Ed Steele, chairman of EAS Consulting Group, Alexandria, Va., and a specialist in regulatory matters, said, “I would not read too much into this technical snag because the agency is fully committed to implementing the program.”

The act, signed into law on Jan. 4, 2011, requires registration by all domestic and foreign food facilities that manufacture, process, pack or hold food for human or animal consumption in the US.

The FDA issued a new draft guidance document in August that discussed the specifics of food facility registration, outlining the law’s requirements and food categories affected. Some of the law’s provisions also deal with requirements originally part of the Bioterrorism Act.

Proposed regulations implementing the FSMA were to be issued this past July but are still under review at the White House Office of Management and Budget.