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Back in January 2011, President Obama signed the Food Safety Modernization Act, which has been the biggest reform to the United States’ food safety laws in more than 70 years. This act outlined the steps that the FDA, restaurants, and other food facilities must take to make preventing contamination the top priority. Learn more about this act and what it means to insurance buyers below.
What is the Food Safety Modernization Act?
The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) allows the FDA to strengthen the food safety system to better protect the public’s health. Currently, the FDA focuses more on reacting to problems after they have occurred. This new act will be the first time the FDA is mandated to require comprehensive, science-based preventative controls across the food supply, in hopes to reduce the amount of food safety problems before they occur. While it will take time to build a new food safety system that is based on prevention, FSMA will change our culture and how Americans will think about food safety in the future.
Mandatory Preventive Measures included in the Food Safety Modernization Act
· Preventive Controls for Food Facilities
All food facilities will be required to implement a written preventive controls plan. This plan must include:
· Evaluating any hazards that may affect food safety
· Listing the steps that will be put in place by your establishment to minimize or prevent any hazards
· Include how your facility will monitor these steps to ensure they are working
· Keep routine records of monitoring these steps
· Listing the steps that will be taken if a problem arises
· Product Safety Standards
The FDA is responsible for creating science-based minimum standards that must be met for the safe production and harvesting of fruits and vegetables. These standards must take into consideration naturally occurring hazards, soil amendments, hygiene, packaging, temperature controls, animals in the growing area and water.
· Authority to Prevent Intentional Contamination
The FDA is also responsible for issuing regulations to protect the food supply at specific vulnerable points.
Mandatory Inspection and Compliance
· Inspection Frequency
The FSMA has come up with a strict inspection frequency based on risk, which requires the number of inspections to increase immediately.
· Records Access
The FDA must have access to records to food safety plans. It is also required that facilities continue to keep record of the implementation of their plans.
· Testing from Accredited Laboratories
The FDA will be required to establish a laboratory accreditation program to ensure that the country’s food testing laboratories meet new standards.
Response Protocols by the FDA
Despite preventive measures, if a problem arises, the FSMA says that the FDA must have the correct tools to respond effectively. This includes allowing the FDA to order a mandatory recall when a company fails to voluntarily recall unsafe food, more flexible standards to allow the FDA to detain products that may be in violation of the law, the ability for the FDA to suspend the registration of an establishment that serves food with a reasonable probability of health consequences, along with other new responsibilities.
Import Regulations by the FDA
The FSMA will allow the FDA to have better authority to ensure that imported products meet our country’s standards and are safe for consumers. Some of these new responsibilities include verifying foreign providers have preventive controls in place, require high-risk imported foods to be accompanied by a credible third party certification, and refusing food entry into the country if the FDA is not allowed in the foreign facility or the country where the facility is located.
How Your Establishment Can Follow These New Regulations
One of the best ways to help protect your food establishment is to work with your insurance agent to ensure you are protected in case something goes wrong. With more strict recall rules, your company may see an increase in the number of recalls of food products used at your establishment everyday. It’s important that your insurance plan properly protects your restaurant against the costly expenses and potential liabilities associated with product recall.
Protect Your Restaurant with an Insurance Plan
Here at Restaurant Programs of America, our team of insurance agents is fully aware of all of the new rules and regulations that have been implemented with Food Safety Modernization Act. We will answer any questions you may have about how the FSMA will affect your business. Even though this act is designed to minimize the number of food safety problems, accidents do happen. We will provide you with the best possible insurance plan that is specific for your establishment’s needs. For more information about working with RPA, be sure to contact us today!