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The Obama administration introduced the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) nine years back. The intent—usher in a systemic shift in the way food safety is handled in the US. Since then, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has taken comprehensive measures to shift the focus in this regard to preventing foodborne illnesses instead of reactively responding to combat them.

Seven major rules to implement FSMA have been finalized by the FDA. Of these, the compliance date for the Intentional Adulteration rule—aimed at preventing intentional adulteration from acts intended to cause wide-scale harm to public health—is being extended (since its the first of its kind and so, education and outreach are critical). The FDA forming these rules is part of the substantial progress it has made over the past decade, and its continued efforts to prioritize building processes and tools to safeguard the future of food safety.

Let us dig deeper into how the FDA’s measures and how the Food Safety Modernization Act’s requirements are expected to impact food safety in 2020:

Improved food safety standards

Since the signing of the FSMA nine years ago, the FDA has worked towards modernizing and safeguarding the US' food supply chain. As part of this process, the FDA has proposed and approved a few key regulations to establish food production and transportation (domestic and imported) standards based on science and risk.

The 2019 Food & Health Survey showed that 68% of survey respondents were confident about the food supply in the US in light of the new changes. Interestingly, these responses were received despite the staggeringly high count of recorded food outbreaks in 2018—the highest in over a decade. The reason behind the food outbreak incident was not because of the deteriorating food supply chain, but due to the considerable improvement in the ability to detect food contamination.

More to come

Most FSMA compliance deadlines for critical regulations have passed by/expired in the last few years; except a few outstanding dates meant for small businesses. The law is yet to be finalized, however, and several parts of it are still work-in-progress.

Even as the FDA works on building a strong law, it has also moved inadvertent non-compliance and consumer safety from food borne illness to the top of its priority list. Responding to an unfortunate incident involving the death of five people in 2019, the FDA had committed to improve food safety with the Center of Food Safety. It also has set record keeping guidelines for foods identified as ‘high risk,’ which are capable of causing food borne illness. With FSMA in force, food processors and manufacturers now need to uphold the highest standards of food safety. A comprehensive food safety program should be able to trace the food back to the farm level.

How can ERP help?

The introduction of FSMA has certainly made food safety norms strict. That said, the upcoming FDA regulations are set to increase food safety compliance requirements and procedures. To keep up with these more stringent laws, you will need to reinforce your business processes with a smarter, more intuitive solution.

An efficient ERP solution for the food industry can help your track, and fulfill, the entire spectrum of your compliance requirements. A food ERP solution can also aid you in:

  • Implementing preventive controls

  • Recognizing safety hazards

  • Recording compliance measures

  • Tracking real-time status of compliance requirements

When it comes to meeting food safety compliance requirements, an intelligent food ERP solution can be an invaluable asset in ensuring fast and accurate responsive action. Get in touch with a cloud ERP service provider to know how an ERP solution can help you in compliance management.

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