Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Overview
Congress passed the FSMA in December 2010, and it was signed into law by President Obama in January 2011. The law increased the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) power by allowing the FDA to focus on preventing food safety problems rather than simply responding to them.
Final Rule Timeline
To date, the FDA has enacted five different rules, with two more expected March 31, 2016 (see below) and May 31, 2016. The rules are as follows:
- September 2015:
- November 2015:
- March 2016: Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food
- May 2016: Protection Against Intentional Adulteration
March 31st, 2016: Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food (STF)
According to the FDA, this rule would address the sanitary transportation of food by establishing criteria and definitions that would apply in determining where food is adultered. It would allow the FDA to see where the food has been transported or offered for transport by a shipper, carrier by motor vehicle or rail vehicle. The Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food Rule would also allow the FDA to determine whether or not the receiver knowingly engaged in the transportation of food under conditions that are not in compliance with the sanitary food transportation regulations.
Specifically, the proposed rule would establish requirements for:
- Vehicles and transportation equipment;
- Transportation operations;
- Records; and
An example of changes that would occur under this rule would be the requirement of food haulers to inspect a vehicle for cleanliness prior to loading food that is not completely enclosed by its container (i.e., meat, poultry, seafood, etc.)
The Bulk Transporter pointed out one of the bigger concerns under the STF rule, temperature management. Under the rule, food haulers must develop and implement procedures that describe how they will comply with provisions for temperature control and how they will provide this information to shippers and receivers. In turn, drivers will need to be trained on temperature management and maintain records for each shipment.
Another mentioned concern is that of trailer requirements. The sanitary conditions expected under the rule are similar to those used in food processing plants. Therefore, trailer materials and specifications must be adapted in order to be easily cleaned and withstand harsh cleaning chemicals.
For more information on the upcoming rule, please visit the FDA’s website. We will cover to May 31st, 2016 rule, Protection Against Intentional Adulteration, in our May 11th post.
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**Update: The FDA finalized the new food safety rule on April 5th, 2016.