Is the Food Safety Modernization Act Getting Some Teeth?

Child Eating Watermelon

The Food Safety Modernization Act was passed in January 2011 and was supposed to go into full effect in January 2012. Yet here we are nearly into December and the food rules haven’t been published. It looks like that might be changing soon.

After the president signed the bill, the Food Safety Modernization Act went to the Office of Management and Budget. It has sat there for nearly two years with no apparent work being done on implementing it, until last week.

A spokesperson from the Office of Management and Budget wrote to the Huffington Post to say, β€œThe Obama Administration is committed to food safety and we have taken key steps including putting out a food safety rule cracking down on salmonella in eggs and expanding E. coli testing for beef. We are working as expeditiously as possible to implement the food safety legislation we fought so hard for. When it comes to rules with this degree of importance and complexity, it is critical that we get it right.”

The law, when it goes into effect, will:

Increase inspections – High-risk facilities will be inspected every three years. Third-party inspectors will have to be accredited.

Require preventive control plans – Farms, processors, and distributors will be required to have written standards for safe practices at their facilities. Farms will also be required to track their products and have a plan for issuing a recall, although farms that sell within 275 miles and less than $500,000 per year are exempt.

Increase import inspections – Food from outside the United States will be required to meet U.S. food safety standards. Food can be refused if that foreign facility will not allow FDA inspectors on their site.

In 2011, there were 37 food recalls, including a deadly salmonella outbreak in cantaloupe.Β  48 million Americans get sick or die from foodborne illness each year, costing our economy more than $8 billion annually.

Hopefully, the necessary rules will move through the OMB quickly and the FDA can submit them for public review soon.

Child eating watermelon photo via Shutterstock

1 thought on “Is the Food Safety Modernization Act Getting Some Teeth?”

  1. Although many U.S. FDA regulations associated with Food Safety Modernization Act, FSMA, have been delayed, we should keep in mind that several important U.S. FDA FSMA regulations have actually been issued, including the requirement for food facility registration renewals. FSMA mandates all food facilities to renew their registration with FDA by December 31, 2012. During this renewal process, FDA requires facilities to β€œconsent to FDA inspections.” Under FSMA, inspections that identify noncompliance materially related to a food safety may now result in FDA assessing reinspection fees, without limit, at rates of $289 per hour and $221 per hour, outside and inside the U.S., respectively.
    Furthermore, the FDA is increasing the number of food facility inspections abroad. FSMA requires the FDA to double the number of foreign food facility inspections every year for the next 5 years. This results in an increase from 600 inspections in 2011 to 19,200 in 2016. Registrar Corp can help these food companies prepare for an FDA food facility inspection and minimize risk of a reinspection and the costly fees associated with it. For more information about the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) or any FDA regulation, please contact Registrar Corp 24/7 at or call us at +1-757-224-0177.

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