What Is Food Safety Modernization Act FDA FSMA?
Now with the COVID-19 pandemic taking its toll, people are becoming more and more cautious about who to purchase food and related products from. Food Safety is in the mind of everyone now more than ever before. Customers and final consumers are now more concerned about food safety than what it used to be some years back before the strike of the Coronavirus.
Those who receive all this pressure from consumers and food distributors are the producers and food manufacturers as the compliance is now needed more than never before. If you are in one way or the other involved at any stage of the food supply chain, then you have a role to play to comply with the regulations that control food safety.
The history of the Food Safety Modernization Act FSMA
Given the worrying trend of statistics from the CDC department regarding the sickness related to food contamination reported, it forced Congress to take a new direction that led to the birth of FSMA. The proposals of FSMA was passed by Congress in December 2010 and passed into law on 4th January, by President Obama.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Safety Modernization Act FSMA finally came into practice in 2015, and different companies and businesses were given different timelines for compliance depending on the size. The act brings significant changes to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act regarding the enforcement of safety of the foods that are being supplied to the consumers. It is the biggest amendment in the food sector in the entire American history.
So, what is FDA FSMA?
In simple words, these acts aim at improving food safety in the United States market at every stage of the supply chain. The FDA is now in charge of enforcing the new standards as outlined by the FSMA while FSMA is now transformed to deal more with the food-related diseases as opposed to what it used to handle in the past. In the past, FSMA was known to major in the treatment of foodborne diseases, but that was found to ineffective. Why use resources in the treatment of the whole thing can be prevented, especially when the diseases are overwhelming? In our own view, it is one of the best moves by FSMA to protect the general public from the dangers of food contamination that can occur either intentionally or unintentionally.
Unlike many ISO standard that is generic and voluntary, FSMA is specific to the food industry and is a mandatory standard to all the players in the food sector. Every person trading in the food sector is expected to comply with these rules according to the set timelines. For instance, companies and businesses with more than 500 employees are to comply by 2016, those with less than five hundred employees but are considerably large are to comply with the FSMA by 2017, and the small businesses to comply by 2018.
Who is FSMA for and who is responsible for enforcing FSMA?
As we have already mentioned above, FSMA is not generic. It applies to everyone in the specified food sector in the United States. Whether you are just an importer of food products into the United States or involved in the supply chain of the foods covered by FSMA, you are bound to comply with these rules. More on the FSMA will come shortly.
FSMA covers 75% of all foods consumed in the United States. The rest of the foods are regulated by other bodies such as USDA. Therefore, you need to know if you are covered by the FSMA laws or other regulators. We will also talk about the foods covered by the FSMA laws shortly. But if anything is not clear to you, then don’t hesitate to talk to our experts at ISO-Pros for clarification.
FSMA is enforced for FDA, FDA is responsible for seeing that all the companies and businesses that are registered with it comply with these rules and keep the standards. Failure to comply with these standards has great consequences that depend on the level of nonconformity discovered. In very extreme cases, your license can be revoked and the company closed.
What types of foods are regulated by FSMA?
The rules set by FSMA are implemented by FDA and controls the commercial food operations involving the manufacturing, processing, packing, or distribution of both the human consumable foods and animal feeds. FDA refers to these operations and food facilities. So, when you here FDA officials talking about food facilities, then know that he or she refers to these operations.
Food manufacturing or processing is the method of transforming the food from one form to the other by either chemically or physically modifying food constituents to realize the new product. This can be achieved through various methods that we are not going to list here, but just to inform you that FSMA is responsible for setting standards that these methods should meet to enhance food safety. So, all the parties involved are expected to put in place food contamination prevention measures and testing standards for any health hazards.
What are the rules of FSMA?
FSMA standards can be summarized into seven main rules that we are only going to list in this article. If you want to get into the details of these rules, then we would refer you to our home page where each and every rule is discussed. The following are the seven basic rules of FSMA:
- Preventive Controls for Human Food
- Preventive Controls for Animal Food
- Produce Safety
- Foreign Supplier Verification Program
- Third-Party Certification
- Food Defense (intentional adulteration)
- Sanitary Transportation
Do you need certification for FSMA compliance?
FSMA compliance certification is done by third parties just like many ISO standards that you might have heard of. Apart from just complying to these standards, you need certification to confirm it. If you are ready for FSMA compliance certification, then feel free to contact experts at ISO-Pros to audit your company or business and then issue you with a certificate is you pass all the minimum standards.