Food safety is paramount for our livelihood. We all eat, but until 2011, we experienced the concerning effects of poor food regulation in our country.

As of Jan. 4, 2011, legislation was passed to help improve food safety and prevent the dangers consumers faced for years. The new FDA mandate, the Food Safety Modernization Act, focuses on higher standards for food safety and better practices for imported and domestic foods.

Here’s a breakdown of the Food Safety Modernization Act, and what it means for you.

FDA has been put in place for our safetyWhat is the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act?

The FDA mandated legislation, the Food Safety Modernization Act, is essentially a safety system put in play to prevent foodborne illness. Since the introduction of this law, there have been dramatic changes to the global food system, focusing on preventing and researching preventable foodborne illnesses.

The FSMA was put in place to ensure safety to the US food supply and identify any issues.
The goal is to tackle any public health issues and threats to economic well-being. This includes having mandatory recall authority, frequent inspections, and strict guidelines regarding the food industry.

What are the typical guidelines?

There are seven safety guidelines to follow in the FSMA. These rules establish strict regulation of all food practices from the farm to the fork. Each rule is carefully mandated by the FDA, and all are crucial to our safety.

Rule 1: and 2: Preventative Controls for Human Food and Animals

This rule establishes requirements for any establishment to analyze food safety and hazard analysis. While the Preventative Controls for Animal Food monitors animal feed and recall plans, the human version has more requirements. Establishments must have a written safety plan, hazard analysis, preventive controls, monitoring, corrective actions and corrections, verification, supply-chain program, recall plan, and associated records. Every detail must be filed away and should be produced within short notice.

What this rule does is establish that food is created under ideal conditions, and if there is any issue, the item can be recalled efficiently.

Rule 3: Product Safety Standards

This rule is a science-based minimum standard for the safe growing, harvesting, packing, and holding of fruits and vegetables grown for consumption. Simply put, this rule ensures that your produce is cultivated in the best possible conditions and is safe for consumption when it hits your table. The rule requirements focus on agriculture, irrigation, soil, domestic and wild animals, worker training, health and hygiene, and the equipment and facilities.

rule ensures produce is cultivated in the best possible conditions and safe for consumptionRule 4: Foreign Supplier Verification

Rule 4 applies to risk-factors involving foods imported to the United States. All food imported into the US must meet US safety standards. All groups involved in the transport of imported goods are held accountable: industry, consumer groups, agencies including federal, state, local, tribal, and international counterparts, academia, and other stakeholders. If it doesn’t meet the standards, it will not be allowed.

Rule 5: Accreditation of Third-Party Auditors

This rule allows third-party auditors will conduct food safety audits and issue certifications of foreign facilities and foods for humans and animals they produce. In short, you can apply for accreditation through the FDA for review to sell your product. The FDA intends to keep any potentially harmful food from reaching the US.

Rule 6: Sanitary Transport of Food & Feed

The Sanitary Transport of Food & Feed rule monitors the sanitary conditions of food transportation to make sure the conditions are safe and that the equipment and criteria are up-to-code with practices, training, and record-keeping. This includes cross-contamination in facilities that manufacture products with allergens.

Rule 7: Mitigation Strategies to Protect Food Against Intentional Adulteration

This final rule is put in place to protect against any intentional act meant to cause wide-scale harm to the public. Whether this involves foreign interference or hazards within registered food facilities, this rule was put in place to defend against food hazards on a larger scale.

Why is it important?

To put it plainly, everyone eats. The goal of these rules and regulations is to ensure that the food on your plate is safe for you to consume. These regulations are put forth to stop poor sanitation conditions and prevent food contamination.

It maintains good practices from daily maintenance like washing hands to the ingredients printed clearly on the packaging. It protects us from possible allergens, toxins, and diseases that may stem from our food. While the system isn’t perfect, it is moving in the right direction.

Getting an FDA certificate means that your product is safe to consume.Concluding Thoughts

The overall goal of the Food Safety Modernization Act is to keep us safe. Both human and animal consumers are at risk when it comes to poor sanitation and food regulation. The FSMA helps control conditions our foods are farmed in. From farm to fork, the aim is to make sure food is packaged properly and labeled effectively.

With proper regulation, we can monitor the use of pesticides, the conditions of our food as it is grown and distributed, and how it is handled at restaurants and stores.

Additionally, the act can help us recall contaminated items quicker and more efficiently. It gives us a system that can maintain records, steps to prevent hazards, and ensure the safety of our food. Proper food safety is imperative, and we all need to do our part to improve on it.



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