SOURCE: Xtalks

Xtalks Webinars

November 09, 2015 15:00 ET

The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act: Is Your Organization Ready for Compliance?

TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - November 09, 2015) - On the Xtalks Blog -- Since January 2013, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been working towards implementing new rules on food safety, as part of the agency's Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Some of the regulations have already taken effect and others will soon be finalized in early 2016. In anticipation of the upcoming Food Defense Vulnerability Assessment webinar hosted by Tyco Integrated Security on Thursday, December 10 at 1pm EST, this Xtalks blog will highlight some issues to be aware of to make sure your organization is FSMA compliant.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 48 million Americans get sick as a result of consuming contaminated food every year. Of these people, 128,000 individuals are hospitalized as a result of a foodborne illness, and 3,000 of these people die each year. This burden on public health is most often preventable, and has led to the restructuring of the FDA's guidelines for food and drink manufacturers.

The FDA's FSMA has been structured to cover five fundamental areas:

  1. Preventive Controls -- The FDA has developed a new legislative mandate which requires controls across the food supply to prevent issues before they occur.
  2. Inspection and Compliance -- The FDA will be continuing to conduct risk-based inspections of food production facilities, and they will continue to innovate these procedures.
  3. Imported Food Safety -- The FDA is implementing new rules to ensure that imported food meets US safety standards. The agency will now require importers to prove that their suppliers have established preventative controls, and third party auditors will be accredited by the FDA in order to inspect foreign production facilities and ensure product safety.
  4. Response -- The FDA now has authority over all mandatory recalls for food products, though the agency admits that most companies in the food industry are compliant with voluntary recalls.
  5. Enhanced Partnerships -- Legislation will now allow for the synergistic effort of all food safety agencies at the US, federal, state, local, territorial, tribal and foreign levels, to allow for optimal public health

Food Defense and Prevention of Intentional Adulteration

The FDA has also drafted new rules under the category of Food Defense, to protect food against intentional contamination. Examples of intentional contamination include "sabotage, terrorism, counterfeiting, or other illegal, intentionally harmful means." Food defense is a distinct category which differs from food safety in that the former deals with prevention of intentional contamination, whereas the latter is concerned with prevention of unintentional contamination.

Potential intentional contaminants could include biological, chemical or radiological compounds that are not normally found in the food source. To combat this threat to public health, the FDA has proposed a new Intentional Contamination rule.

The rule introduces four key activities carried out during food production that have been identified as most vulnerable to potential adulteration:

  • Bulk liquid receiving and loading
  • Liquid storage and handling
  • Secondary ingredient handling
  • Mixing and similar activities

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