According to the FDA, every year, 1 out of 6 people in the United States (48 million people) suffers from foodborne illness and more than a hundred thousand are hospitalized, making it a serious public safety issue that is largely preventable. In response, the Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA) was passed by Congress and signed into law in 2011. Considered one of the largest food safety law reforms in the last 70 years, its intention is to “ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus from responding to contamination to preventing it.”
In order to take a risk-based approach to food safety, FSMA places more rigorous requirements on food manufacturers, processors, growers, and importers. The key elements of FSMA can be divided into five major categories
- Preventive Controls Mandate
- Inspection & Compliance to hold Industries accountable
- Imported Food Safety Tools
- Response & Mandatory Recall Authority
- Enhanced Partnership between Food Safety Agencies
How to Prepare
How can you prepare for FSMA? While preparation will vary, the publication, Food Quality & Safety, recommends 7 basic steps to get started:
- Develop your Food Safety Plan.
- Identify, train, and qualify the experienced individual who is responsible for developing the facility’s Food Safety Plan.
- Identify and evaluate the hazards that could affect food manufactured, processed, packed, or held by your facility.
- Identify and implement preventive controls to significantly minimize or prevent the occurrence of such hazards and provide assurances that the food you make is not adulterated.
- Monitor the performance of those established controls.
- Maintain records of monitoring as a matter of routine practice.
- If you are importing foods, you are responsible for compliance to FSMA by your foreign suppliers.