Food and feed facilities are being given  more time to make sure they are properly registered with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). FDA had previously set a December 31 deadline for facilities that manufacture, process, pack, or hold food for human or animal consumption to register or renew their existing registrations, which must be done every other year. However, FDA is now extending that deadline for a month in light of delays in this year’s registration process and the substantive changes to this process that were included in the Food Safety Modernization Act.

Specifically, FDA intends to exercise until January 31 enforcement discretion with respect to registration renewals submitted after December 31. As a result, FDA will not suspend the registration number for facilities that submit a registration or renewal during this one-month period. Nevertheless, the agency is encouraging facilities to renew their registrations as early as possible.

FDA has also issued two new guidance documents to further assist facilities that must comply with this registration requirement. “What You Need to Know About the Registration of Food Facilities – Small Entity Compliance Guide” contains information regarding who is required to register and who may be exempt, how often facilities must register and renew registrations, when FDA may suspend a registration, and how facilities may submit their registrations and registration renewals to FDA. Among other things, this guidance highlights the additional information that must be provided in a facility’s registration pursuant to the Food Safety Modernization Act, which includes the email address of the U.S. agent for the foreign facility and an assurance that FDA will be permitted to inspect the facility at the times and in the manner permitted by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

“Questions and Answers Regarding Food Facility Registration (Fifth Edition)” contains updated answers to questions regarding food facility registration that are based on the FSMA amendment and is available here.

Hogen Lovells US LLP has prepared a memorandum on FDA’s action, which is available here.