What Is FSMA? Everything You Need to Know

If you’re starting a business in the food and beverage industry, you need to be aware of a lot of things. You have to manage the economic factors of the business, the

On top of that, you have a lot of regulatory headaches to deal with. The food industry is heavily regulated and with good reason. There are plenty of good actors that had products recalled for bacterial contamination.

One of the main regulations you need to know inside and out is FMSA. What is FSMA?

Keep reading to find out.

What is FSMA?

FSMA stands for the Food Safety Modernization Act. It was an act signed into law by President Obama in 2011 that represented the most sweeping food safety reform in a couple of generations.

These changes shifted the focus of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from an authority to ensure food safety compliance and response to one that is largely trying to prevent largescale bacteria outbreaks in the food supply.

The legislation changes how the FDA acts and operates in preventing foodborne illnesses. The FDA’s response is to enact changes to focus on prevention.

The changes affect every single part of the food supply chain, from growers to transporters. It’s a massive and complex piece of legislation that is hard to comprehend.

The Basics of FSMA

The FSMA is so large, that the Food and Drug Administration developed 7 major rules to help food-based businesses comply.

For example, there’s an FSMA certification program to ensure compliance. There are also rules that target transporters and rules for importers.

Underneath these major rules lie dozens of smaller rules that the FDA is proposing and rolling out. As you can see here, these guidance rules started in 2013 and they are continued to be proposed.

That means that the FSMA is a dynamic piece of legislation. It’s going to continue to evolve as the FDA continues to adapt and change, along with the globalization of the food supply.

FSMA Compliance

The biggest mystery surrounding FSMA is when your operation has to be within compliance. There are different dates according to the size of the business and the types of business.

You’ll want to review the latest compliance information to see where your business falls.

Understanding FSMA

You’ll need to read a lot to truly understand what is FSMA and how it impacts your business. There’s a good chance that you don’t have the time or energy to read thousands of pages of legislation.

In a nutshell, the Food Safety Modernization Act was a necessary law in order to respond to the increase in foodborne illnesses. That required that a huge government agency, the Food and Drug Administration, changes the way it operates.

Those changes are meant to prevent illnesses and bacteria in food, rather than reacting to an outbreak. The FSMA is constantly changing as the FDA adopts new rules. You want to make sure you keep up with those changes.  

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Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.