Food importers won a reprieve from setting up verification programs for foreign suppliers, a delay that has angered consumer and food safety groups.
The Food Safety Modernization Act, signed into law in January 2011, set a number of new requirements for food importers.
In pushing for the legislation, advocacy groups argued inspections haven’t kept pace with a tripling of food imports over the past decade. The Food and Drug Administration currently inspects less than one pound in a million of imported foods.
But the FDA’s draft rules have been sitting for months, under review by the administration’s Office of Management and Budget since December.
A coalition of 10 organizations wrote to President Obama in mid-July, demanding action and warning that further delay could be a death sentence for some Americans.
The budget office said it’s working on several provisions but wouldn’t say when they will be released for public comment or implemented. “When it comes to rules with this degree of importance and complexity, it is critical that we get it right,” an OMB spokeswoman told reporters.
An FDA official confirmed the agency wouldn’t enforce the provisions until further notice.