FSMA Is Coming: Are You Ready?

This past weekend I was at the local farmers market meeting with local food manufacturers and processors. I wanted to get their take on the new pending federal regulations called FSMA, or Food Safety Modernization Act. What I found was most of them had no idea about the new regulations. It got me wondering if domestic food processors are ready for these new restrictions If you’re a food processor or you know someone who is, this overview of the new rules will be helpful.

FSMA: Food Safety Modernization Act | ResproFSP.com

What Is FSMA?

FSMA was signed into law by President Obama in 2011 and so far encompasses documents with thousands of pages, but let’s try to break it down in the most basic terms. FSMA’s goal is to prevent problems that cause foodborne illness rather than to simply react to outbreaks after the damage is done. “We cannot afford to wait until people become ill to realize there is a problem,” says FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D. Prevention is the core principle that has promulgated these 5 new rules.

Proposed and published for public comment:

1. Preventive Controls for Human Food

2. Produce Safety

These rules are still in development:

3. Foreign Supplier Verification for Importers

4. Accredited Third Party Certification

5. Preventive Controls for Animal Food

FSMA: HACCP Plan | ResproFSP.com

A Look at the 2 Proposed FSMA Rules

FSMA Rule: Preventive Controls for Human Food

All domestic food manufacturers, processors, warehouses, storage tanks and grain elevators are required to register with the FDA. As part of the rule, these facilities would be required to have a written plan that identifies hazards, states a plan to prevent these hazards, spells out how the plan is monitored, and has procedures in place to correct problems found in the monitoring process. For most, this is considered a HACCP plan. The FDA will evaluate these plans and implement an inspection program to ensure that these plans are being followed. It’s very important that these plans are well documented and easily accessible for inspection purposes.

FSMA Rule: Produce Safety

This rule includes requirements for the agricultural industry to prevent contamination of produce. The FDA has identified these areas as conduits of contamination:

  • Irrigation water
  • Farm worker hygiene
  • Manure and other additions to the soil
  • Intrusion of animals in the growing fields
  • Sanitation conditions affecting buildings, equipment and tools

It also addresses growing, harvesting, and packing of sprouts that are considered more hazardous and vulnerable to harmful bacteria.

There are exemptions for small farms and businesses, but the rules still require everyone to register and have a food safety management plan. Visit the above links of the proposed rules for more information and existing exemptions.

Respro has started partnering with other companies to bring valuable resources and services to help local businesses comply with the new FSMA rules. One of these companies is Freshability. Respro and Freshability are working on a full package of food safety plan development, implementation, third-party auditing and online retention of records.

To get started on your own food safety or HACCP plans, contact us or visit the following links:

We’ll provide more posts on FSMA and HACCP in the near future. Get notified by email when we publish a new blog post by signing up for the Utah Food Safety Blog’s RSS feed. Plug in your email address in the sidebar box or click the RSS button at the top of this website.

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  1. We appreciate the inclusion of Freshability in this post. Consumer safety is our number one concern at Freshability. They should expect that their local grocery/farmer/merchant provides them with clean, safe and fresh produce. FDA statics are not a farce. It’s alarming to read that every year, hundreds of thousands Americans are infected by food-borne illnesses. Thousands are hospitalized and a few hundred die from these illnesses. Often times produce from other countries aren’t being properly labeled in our grocery stores. This leads to urgent need to create a plan to improve the supply of produce. In our opinion, there are two issues in the industry that are the most pertinent at this time. They are: a knowledge of where the produce comes from and is the facility that handles the produce following proper industry regulations to provide a safe product to the consumer. Together with Respro, Freshability provides a comprehensive system to assist any producer, distributor, grower, manufacturer, farmer, grocer, purveyor of produce to trace back to the source and to comply with federal regulations. Additionally, a complete educational system with a regular site visit and a plan to improve food safety is set forth by Respro. We are happy that our two companies could come together and attempt to ameliorate this nation’s food safety epidemic. Let’s help each other make our supply chain of produce safer and be proactive instead of reactive.

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