The farm and manufacturing rules are only one part of the food safety law. The bill also authorized more surprise inspections by the FDA and gave the agency additional powers to shut down food facilities. In addition, the law required stricter standards on imported foods. The agency said it will soon propose other overdue rules to ensure that importers verify overseas food is safe and to improve food safety audits overseas.
Food safety advocates frustrated over the last year as the rules stalled praised the proposed action.
‘‘The new law should transform the FDA from an agency that tracks down outbreaks after the fact, to an agency focused on preventing food contamination in the first place,’’ said Caroline Smith DeWaal of the Center for Science in the Public Interest.