The passage of the FSMA has ushered in a new era of oversight in the food industry. Processors will be required to develop comprehensive written food safety plans that document their facilities’ preventive controls. The main requirements are as follows:
• Programs are in place to ensure food is produced safely.
• Hazard analyses identify all potential risks throughout all processing steps.
• Preventive controls are implemented to mitigate risks.
• These controls are monitored to ensure they are properly implemented.
• The controls have been analyzed to verify they achieve the intended
reduction in risk.
• The hazards and preventive controls are re-analyzed whenever there are
significant changes to the process, or at least every three years.
While the FDA has not yet determined how the new requirements will be implemented, leading food processors have already begun improving their food safety plans and controls. They are making use of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) programs, current good manufacturing practices, and systems technologies that ensure the accuracy and accessibility of data and documentation.
As the industry shifts focus from reacting to food safety issues to preventing them in the first place, processors that proactively introduce improved safety plans and programs will not only survive, but thrive.