When the FSMA was signed into law in 2011, the FDA was given 18 months to implement the new regulations. However, it was more than two years until draft rules were released.
The Center for Food Safety took issue with FDA's timelines and later earned a court order, under which the agency was required to set specific deadlines for proposed rules and a final rule.
To make matters worse, the comment period was extended a total of three times. One extension was due to a technology glitch in which servers handling online comments from food safety stakeholders failed, triggering the FDA to allow an additional week for comment submission.
The NSAC, however, says it is "cautiously optimistic" that the latest change and comment period to come will finally be adequate for a "substantially reworked, clearer, and more practical proposal."
"The modernization of food safety rules is a major undertaking and it is more important to get it right than to meet any arbitrary deadlines for completion of the task," Ferd Hoefner, NSAC policy director said.
The FSMA also includes other sections – like the animal feed rule, for instance – which will not be affected in the revisions, Taylor said.
The FDA's decision comes less than a month after a group of 75 Congress members called on the agency to revise the rules and re-propose them, citing concerns similar to those raised by farm groups.
Read more on FSMA:
Shades Of 'Obamacare,' FDA Food Safety Rule Webpage Crashes
Court Requires FDA To Determine FSMA Deadline
FDA Releases Proposed Food Safety Standards