The Essential Guide to FSMA

A quick resource for anyone looking to learn about FSMA

The History of FSMA

The FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is being called the most sweeping reform of U.S. food safety laws in more than 70 years. It was originally signed into law by President Obama on January 4, 2011, and in the years since, FDA has been working to develop the final rules that the act requires them to implement. The focus of the act is more effective prevention of food safety issues in the U.S. food supply.

FSMA is a comprehensive top-to-bottom overhaul of the United States food safety regulatory framework. FSMA will touch every segment of the produce business supply chain from farm-to-fork. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed seven major regulations. The proposed regulations will affect how produce is grown, packed, processed, shipped and imported into the U.S. The Food Safety Modernization Act is changing the culture of the food safety system in the United States.

FSMA shifts the focus of the FDA to ensuring food safety through prevention of microbial contamination rather than just reacting to the problem after it has already occurred. With new changes in food safety regulations also come new compliance challenges for the food industry. Growers, producers, harvesters and processors need to fully comprehend the rules in order to overcome the challenges associated with FSMA. The Food Safety Modernization Act will require a multitude of standards to be met and procedures to be followed in order to comply with the law, below are a few noteworthy comments to help you in your journey to FSMA compliance.

Understanding FSMA

One of the first challenges that companies will face when diving into FSMA is understanding the law and the rules which will implement it. These include preventive controls specific requirements for imported foods, food safety inspections, the sanitary transportation of foods and compliance timelines. Establishing where each rule fits, and which rules apply to food facilities can be overwhelming at first. Doing a gap analysis is a good idea for this first challenge, as it will let a company know their current standing and what future steps to take. Safe Food Alliance is working to make this transition easier for the food industry by pursuing FDA-approved training on the Produce Safety and Preventive Controls Rules. This will allow Safe Food Alliance to offer public and onsite training, as well as consultation services, for companies needing guidance-look for these classes in the coming year!

The Rules

The below is for guidance purposes only, please refer to the FDA’s website for more detailed information.

Preventive Controls for Human Food

Overview

The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety rule is now final, and the earliest compliance dates for some farms begin one year after the effective date of the final rule (see ‘Compliance Dates’ below). The rule establishes, for the first time, science-based minimum standards for the safe growing, harvesting, packing, and holding of fruits and vegetables grown for human consumption. For more information on the Produce Safety rule, visit the FDA’s webpage or contact Safe Food Alliance.

Produce Safety Standards

Overview

The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety rule is now final, and the earliest compliance dates for some farms begin one year after the effective date of the final rule (see ‘Compliance Dates’ below). The rule establishes, for the first time, science-based minimum standards for the safe growing, harvesting, packing, and holding of fruits and vegetables grown for human consumption. For more information on the Produce Safety rule, visit the FDA’s webpage or contact Safe Food Alliance.

Read More

Intro to Produce Safety

The Produce Safety rule, which is part of a larger set of food safety regulations recently issued by the U.S. FDA, applies to growers of produce within the U.S. This includes both traditional “fresh produce”, as well as tree nuts and dried fruit among...Read More

Attend a Training

Safe Food Alliance is hosting mandatory Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training courses statewide! Find one near you

Foreign Supplier Verification

Foreign Supplier Verification

The FDA FSMA rule on Foreign Supplier Verification Programs (FSVP) for Importers of Food for Humans and Animals is now final, and compliance dates for some businesses begin in April of 2017 (see ‘Compliance Dates’ below). The final rule requires that importers perform certain risk-based activities to verify that food imported into the United States has been produced in a manner that meets applicable U.S. safety standards. This rule is the product of a significant level of outreach by the FDA to industry, consumer groups, the agency’s federal, state, local, tribal, and international regulatory counterparts, academia and other stakeholders. For more information on the Foreign Supplier Verification rule, visit the FDA webpage here. (http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/ucm361902.htm) or contact Safe Food Alliance at foodsafety@safefoodalliance.com or (916) 561-5900.

Jon Kimble, our Senior Food Safety Manager, has put together this article to help translate FSMA's FSVP rule. Read More

Attend a Training

Safe Food Alliance is hosting Foreign Supplier Verification courses on a limited basis! Don't miss your chance to attend this vital training! Register Now

Accredidation of Third Party Auditors

Overview

The FDA FSMA rule on the Accredited Third-Party Certification is now final. This rule, proposed in July 2013, establishes a voluntary program for the accreditation of third-party certification bodies, also known as auditors, to conduct food safety audits and issue certifications of foreign facilities and the foods for humans and animals they produce. These requirements will help ensure the competence and independence of the accreditation bodies and third-party certification bodies participating in the program. For more information on the Accreditation of Third Party Auditor, visit the FDA webpage here or contact Safe Food Alliance at foodsafety@safefoodalliance.com or (916) 561-5900.

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