FSMA: Focus On Prevention

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) S. 510 was signed into law in 2011. The law significantly expands the powers of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with respect to foods it generally oversees and its main goal is to focus the department on...


The bill has other agencies working on preparation for outbreaks. The Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have been mandated to prepare specific response and recovery outlines in the event of a foodborne illness outbreak. Additionally, grocery stores will be responsible for keeping customers abreast of all the latest recalls.

Focus On Prevention

The new bill’s emphasis on prevention includes the identification of new preventative outlines created by the FDA and the implementation of hazard analysis by each food facility. Also, specific nationwide standards for produce may be set by the FDA. New screening, packaging and monitoring tools will be extremely valuable to food facilities in implementing these company preventative control plans.

The new bill requires that the FDA identify the most significant food threats and provide an outline or regulation for food production facilities using new science- based methods. The current FDA Title 21 part 110’s good manufacturing practice regulation is the guideline that companies must follow. It sets forth the guidelines that food manufacturers and processors must follow in the processing, producing and handling of food and it covers multiple areas from warehousing and distribution to personnel. Going forward the FDA will be required to identify the most significant food threats and publish new outlines for food production handlers every two years.

Each food production facility will be required to inform the FDA of its food safety prevention plans. The company’s written plan will be required to include all the company’s prevention controls such as controls at critical control points and verification, monitoring, corrective action and recordkeeping methodologies. This hazard analysis requirement will ensure that food is not contaminated and further ensure that food is not misbranded for allergen control. Additionally, the law gives the FDA the power to set nationwide standards for produce production and harvesting.

New technologies and tools applicable to these preventive regulations include screening for bacteria, improving packaging, and monitoring and maintaining the cold chain from harvest to delivery. I’ll discuss these solutions in depth in my next column.

Vallierie Cureton is a marketing writer for DeltaTRAK Inc., a food safety and cold chain management solution provider in Pleasanton, CA. She holds and Bachelor of Science degree in education from Florida State University.

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