The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is introducing a proposal that aims to protect the largest U.S. food manufacturing and processing facilities from potential deliberate attempts to contaminate food products across the U.S. supply chain.

While the federal agency stated there were no known instances of intentional adulteration of food products and admitted that such events are very unlikely to happen, it still believes that introducing safeguards and ensuring there are mitigation strategies in place is necessary.

According to Michael Taylor, deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine at the FDA, the proposal outlines a preventive strategy that will protect the U.S. food supply chain from serious public health risks. The FDA seeks to implement a rule that will ensure this in a practical and cost-effective manner, he added.

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The proposal includes the requirement that food manufacturing and processing facilities most likely to come under attack have a written defense plan, a monitoring system, an adequate staff training program and certain record-keeping practices. The changes represent the sixth revision of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act.

This is the first time the FDA has proposed regulation for preventing the adulteration of food products, so the agency is seeking public comments that would enable it to settle the scope of the rule. The draft proposal will remain open for public comments until March 31, 2014.