The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says it needs more time to develop new food-safety rules and has called for dismissal of a lawsuit over delays in implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act. The act, which FDA describes as the most sweeping reform of our food safety laws in more than 70 years, was signed into law by President Obama on January 4, 2011. It aims to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus from responding to contamination to preventing it.

Advocacy groups the Center for Food Safety and the Center for Environmental Health have filed suit alleging the FDA is failing to implement and enforce the act and has repeatedly missed mandatory deadlines for issuing final regulations required by the law, according to a Reuters article, and asked the court to order officials at both the FDA and the Office of Management and Budget to start enforcing the law.