If you’re confused about compliance with FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), you’re certainly not alone. In fact, this was a “hot topic” at the recent Food Safety Summit, where a group of speakers discussed how food safety professionals are coping with the new rules.
And, in FSMA 2017, Foah International’s Shawn McBride told Quality Assurance that he’s been observing, “…somewhat of a mix between confusion, denial, fright, disinterest, and so on. To some it is ‘out there’; it does not seem to have real meaning because it is not today. And many are saying that they need time to get ‘things in order’ within their company or with their customers.”
McBride noted that there also is some confusion between what is labeled as a very small company (below $1 million) vs. small (which is over 500 employees). “Even that is not very clear and, therefore, their timelines (and pressure to be in compliance) are not in full swing,” McBride said in the article. “It feels like everyone is just waiting to see what the real law will be. But the law is there, we just need to get into it now.”
Breaking Down the Rules
The FSMA may be the most sweeping change in food safety law in 70 years, but according to the Texas State Dept. of Health Services, it also builds on existing regulations to ensure a broader approach to food safety. Broken down into seven key segments, FSMA requires companies—including those involved with refrigerated warehousing and trucking—to be proactive in providing a safe food supply. The Preventive Controls for Human Food (PCHF) rule, for example, lays out the foundation of preventive food safety, and it applies to domestic and foreign facilities that manufacture, process, pack, or hold human food.
Compliance dates for businesses impacted by FSMA were staggered over several years, according to the FDA, and range from six months to three years after the posting of the final FSMA rules (depending on the business’ size and role in the food manufacturing or handling process). The final rule was published in September of 2015, and the rule went into effect in November of 2015. Larger companies had to be in compliance by September 2016, for example, and small businesses have until September 2017.
Get Going Now
As shippers scramble to meet their respective mandates for FSMA compliance, a number of trade organizations, consultancies, and software developers are working to come up with solutions that help companies achieve this goal. For example, the Safe Quality Food Institute (SQFI), has developed resources to help firms strengthen their food safety programs and meet the robust requirements of the FSMA preventive controls rule.
“In response to FSMA, SQFI has developed a voluntary Preventive Controls audit checklist and guidance document for stakeholders to use as a guide for identifying the necessary steps to bridge any gaps between a company’s SQF Program and the PC rule,” according to the organization’s website.
At Hanson Logistics, we’re here to help shippers ensure that their cold supply chains are both FSMA compliant and safe for consumption. Please contact us today to discuss your company’s requirements.