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Taylor: Produce rule will have 120-day comment period

Michael Taylor, FDA

Michael Taylor

Michael Taylor, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration deputy commissioner for food, said today that the FDA rule to implement the produce food safety section of the Food Safety Modernization Act will have a 120-day comment period.

After Taylor told the Organic Trade Association meeting that he expects the rule to be lengthy and to come out soon, an audience member suggested a 120-day comment period because it may come out in the spring planting season.

He agreed, but later told The Hagstrom Report that FDA had already been considering a 120-day comment period, rather than 60 or 90 days.

Taylor said he has faith that the new FDA guidance on the use of antibiotics in farm animals will work.

An audience member said he thought that large meat producers will not reduce their antibiotic use because they have veterinarians on staff who will just change the justification for using the drugs from the now prohibited purposes of growth and weight gain to fighting disease. Taylor said that the FDA will be monitoring the industry to see the changes in usage.

“This is not just about changing the use,” he said, but a completely different regulatory regime. “If this were cosmetic, I’d not be spending my time on it.”

Taylor declined questions about genetic modification, noting that he has recused himself from that area because he previously worked in that industry.