The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is a massive change in the way that food safety is handled in the United States.
In general, the FSMA is a result of the FDA seeking to be proactive in its food safety protocol, rather than reactionary. The CDC reports that approximately 48 million Americans become sick due to food borne illness every year, and the FSMA will attempt to prevent these illnesses from occurring. There a few steps the FDA will take in order to ensure this.
- Enhanced Partnerships: Third party agencies will now be able to conduct inspections, which will assist state and other agencies to increase their food safety standards. Also, foreign governments and food producers will be trained on US food safety standards.
- Import Safety: Importers will be accountable for making sure their foreign suppliers produce safe food, and must be able to demonstrate the controls that they have in place to do this. The FDA will also be able to request third party certification for high risk imported foods.
- Inspection: Inspection will be required based upon a risk analysis of the specific food or facility. These inspections will be performed by third party, accredited laboratories, and in addition, the FDA will be able to access the records of the food supply chain businesses.
The desire for increased safety for the consumer means implementing more stringent requirements on food manufacturers. This heightened vigilance is going to require companies to improve their internal infrastructure in order to keep a better eye on their product from start to finish. Manufacturers will need to be able to trace their ingredients from their supplier, and follow a more detailed food safety plan. Traceability software is one way for manufacturers to prepare for a possible recall. Adding visibility to data, backwards and forwards in the supply chain, could reduce the time and costs associated with compliance alerts, investigations or recalls.
Wendy Stanley is Marketing Director for Radley Corporation, a company that specializes in EDI, WMS and MES software solutions for manufacturers.