Signed into law four years ago, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is ready for implementation. At the beginning of an “FSMA Kickoff Meeting” held on April 23, the FDA declared 2015 to be “the year of FSMA,” informing food industry stakeholders, representatives, and insiders that parts of the FSMA would be finalized and go into effect later in the year. This will start the clock for food processors and manufacturers, who are required to be in compliance with the new rules and regulations within a specified period of time following the rule’s publication. Although the specific period of time varies depending on the size of the company, ultimately all organizations are required to be fully compliant within the next five years. The deadlines for the final rules are as follows:
- August 30, 2015:
Preventive Controls for Human Food; Preventive Controls for Animal Food. These two components address the compliance regulations that will be enacted to ensure safety within facilities that process, manufacture, package, and store food for both humans and animals.
- October 31, 2015:
Produce Safety Rule; Foreign Supplier Verification Program; Third Party Certification of Auditors for Foreign Suppliers. The Produce Safety Rule will institute new safety requirements for the growing, harvesting, packaging, and storage of produce on farms. The additional two rules will establish the roles and responsibilities that importers will have to ensure that foreign food suppliers meet the same standards that are imposed on domestic organizations.
- March 31, 2016:
Sanitary Transportation Rule. This component will address the policies and protocols needed to guarantee the safe transportation of food products.
- May 31, 2016:
Intentional Adulteration Rule. This encompasses the procedures that must be enacted by food organizations to prevent against activity that is intentionally designed to cause public harm.