The first set of rules to be implemented under the U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) has now come into force.
The FDA’s new preventative control rules took effect as of September 19, 2016. These rules require food producing facilities to develop and implement written food safety plans that include a hazard analysis and preventive controls, as well as steps to be taken to prevent or minimise the likelihood of unsafe food products. The rules also clarify which types of farm operations are subject to the preventive control rules, as well as specifications for supply chain requirements.
The FDA’s preventative control rules currently apply to most large food producers. Smaller food producers with fewer than 500 full-time equivalent employees will be given an additional year to achieve compliance, while businesses averaging less than $1 million per year in annual sales will be afforded two additional years to comply.
The FSMA was passed by the U.S. Congress in 2010 and signed into law by U.S. President Barack Obama in January 2011. It includes provisions that fall into five separate food safety areas, including:
- food inspection and food safety compliance;
- response options for dealing with unsafe foods;
- requirements specific to imported food products; and
- interagency collaboration initiatives.
The complete text of the U.S. FSMA can be viewed here. The FDA has also posted on its website a list of frequently asked questions regarding its plans for enforcement of requirements under the FSMA. The FAQs is available here.