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FSMA Rules Finalized…Now What?

When someone thinks of terrorism, food is unlikely to be the first thing that comes to mind. But experts say an attack on the food supply would accomplish terrorists’ goals – inflicting a large death toll, provoking widespread fear, and delivering a major blow to the economy. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s Mitigation Strategies to Protect Food Against Intentional Adulteration aims to prevent such acts by addressing potential vulnerabilities in the system. It is the seventh and final major rule of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Now that these major rules have been issued, the question for food producers and manufacturers is ‘now what?’

The first step for each individual company is to determine which of these rules apply to them. The Intentional Adulteration rule, for example, exempts farms and smaller operations. Other rules may not apply to certain USDA regulated products.

Once companies have a clear understanding of the changes that directly affect their operations, it is crucial to establish a plan and timeline for full implementation. The FDA has made various training resources available and is working with industry groups to provide assistance to those who may need it. With so many new regulations being introduced, it is also a good time to beef up recall preparedness plans.

As with any major change, this overhaul of the nation’s food system is bound to bring some bumps in the road. But with proper planning and oversight, food businesses of all types can navigate the additional complexities that come with new regulations.

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