First FSMA rules to take effect July 3

Don’t forget: the first set of rules issued under the landmark Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) are set to take effect in just over a week, on July 3.

The new rules give the FDA the authority to hold food products that may be contaminated or mislabeled and require organizations importing food to disclose whether another country has rejected or refused the product. The rules are designed to ensure the FDA is better equipped to target foods that may pose a risk to public health.

The new regulations are in addition to the Act’s current scope, which allows the FDA to:

  • Demand records of other food products that have a reasonable probability of serious adverse health consequences If the FDA finds a “reasonable probability” food has been misbranded, adulterated, or capable of generating serious adverse health consequences, it may issue a mandatory recall.
  • Boost protection of whistleblowers who report violations or testify.
  • Increase the frequency of inspections and use a risk-based model to prioritize inspections.

As more FSMA rules come down the pipes in the next 12 months, and as the new requirements take effect next week, it is up to all U.S. Food and Beverage companies to take action now, by implementing food safety management systems, documenting detailed food safety plans, focusing on companywide hazard identification and risk mitigation (along the lines spelled out in HACCP), and prepare for a higher frequency of inspection.

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