HealthDay News — The FDA has introduced a new rule to protect the nation’s food supply from terrorism, the agency announced.

“The goal is to protect the food supply from those who may attempt to cause large-scale public health harm,” Michael Taylor, the FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, said in a press release.”The FDA’s goal is to devise an approach that effectively protects the food supply in a practical, cost-effective manner.” 

The proposed rule would require the largest food businesses in the United States and in other nations to take steps to protect facilities from attempts to contaminate the food supply, including having written food defense plans to correct major security weaknesses.

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The FDA said it does not know of any cases where the food supply was intentionally tainted with the aim of inflicting widespread harm, and added that such events are unlikely to occur. However, the new rule is a preventive measure that would help ensure the safety of the food supply.

Staggered implementation dates for the rule would be based on business size, and range from one year to three years after the rule in finalized, the FDA said. The proposed rule (Docket No. FDA-2013-N-1425) is open to public comment until March 31, 2014.