The Food Safety Modernization Act, or FSMA, has been in place since 2011 to shift the focus of foodborne illnesses to prevention rather than response. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, approximately 1 in 6 people suffer a foodborne illness each year, and of these, thousands die. The FSMA was developed with the goal of stopping outbreaks before they begin by putting in place a list of food safety guidelines for food manufacturers to follow during production.
The regulations put in place in 2011 take aim at every aspect of food production, including the practices used by farmers to grow and raise it. Addressing such points as the quality of water used to water crops, the length of time between fertilization and harvesting, and the quality of food used to feed animals is only the beginning. These new regulations also address the length of time between inspections for food manufacturers, require stricter compliance to the rules, enact new regulations on imported food, give the FDA power of recall, and call for enhanced cooperation and communication between food-regulating agencies in the United States. It’s a swift and powerful response that affects those who grow and manufacture food in a major way.
If you’re employed in the food service industry and are already following Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points, or HACCP guidelines, the increased regulations come as little surprise. Having a firm footing in HACCP makes it much easier to get out in front of the new regulations.
HACCP Food Safety Program
The HACCP method of preventing foodborne illnesses is used internationally and focuses on seven major efforts:
- Conducting a hazard analysis so you know where contamination could begin.
- Identifying critical control points to prevent the contamination from occurring.
- Establishing safe limits for each control point.
- Putting monitoring procedures in place to ensure that the procedure is followed.
- Establishing a means of corrective action should a point be missed.
- Keeping good records.
- Testing and verifying the method.
- Following these seven basic principals makes for a much easier conversion to FSMA regulations.
What This Means for You
If your organization is a part of the meat, poultry, seafood, or juice industry, you’ve been following HACCP guidelines for years. Companies that are part of the expanding coverage area just designated by FSMA are those registered under section 415 of the FDA’s Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. These companies may have to make changes in how you process and prepare foods, especially in the roles of record-keeping and verification. If you haven’t already adopted HACCP rules and regulations regarding the processing of food in your organization, now it the time to do so. It will put you out ahead of the game when it comes to FSMA compliance.
Implementing FSMA within your foodservice organization may be a challenge at the onset, but it’s a necessity if your business is one that’s required to conform. Food safety affects everyone from the farmer to the consumer. Those who prepare and serve food for the public may find the new regulations a hassle, but if they prevent even one case of foodborne illness, they’re worth the effort.
360training.com can help your staff with your HACCP training and other food safety training. Check out and ask about our Food and Beverage training enterprise solutions.
http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2013/07/preventive-controls-moving-to-haccp-and-beyond/#.VVcju_lVikr, http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/ucm239907.htm, http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/ucm247559.htm, http://www.22000-tools.com/what-is-haccp.html,