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USDA and FDA Sign MoU on Food Supply Chain Protections

May 21, 2020
USDA meat inspectors. Image courtesy of USDA
USDA meat inspectors. Image courtesy of USDA

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and US Department of Agriculture (USDA) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that defines the agencies roles if the Defense Production Act (DPA) is used to keep America’s food supply chain operational during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“This is an important preparedness effort as we are approaching peak harvesting seasons, when many fruits and vegetables grown across the U.S. are sent to be frozen or canned,” the agencies wrote in a joint release. “The MOU creates a process for the two agencies to make determinations about circumstances in which the USDA could exercise its authority under the Defense Production Act (DPA) with regard to certain domestic food resource facilities that manufacture, process, pack, or hold foods, as well as to those that grow or harvest food that fall within the FDA’s jurisdiction.”

US President Donald J. Trump signed Executive Order 13917, Delegating Authority Under the Defense Production Act with Respect to the Food Supply Chain Resources During the National Emergency Caused by the Outbreak of COVID-19, on April 28, giving Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue the authority to use the DPA to ensure that America’s food supply chain remains functional. 

“The MoU makes clear that the FDA will work with stakeholders to monitor the food supply for food resources not under the USDA’s exclusive jurisdiction in order to prevent interruptions at FDA-regulated food facilities,” the release said. 

To view the full document, click here

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