The U.S Food and Drug Association (FDA) is an organization that is responsible for protecting and safeguarding public health by passing rules and regulations that ensure food safety. According to the FDA food safety laws, manufacturers must make sure that the food that they produce is wholesome, hygienic, adequately and accurately labeled, and safe for human consumption. The food safety rules also cover vaccines, medicines (both human and veterinary), biological products, and medical devices. According to the FDA, the aforementioned products should be safe to use and handle, and must be effective. The authority of the U.S Food and Drug Association extends to the 50 American States, American Samoa, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands, the District of Columbia, and several other U.S territories.
What is the New FDA Food Safety Act All About?
Earlier this year, the FDA announced two new food safety rules and regulations under The New FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The FMSA was signed by the U.S President Obama on the 4th of January, 2011. What is different about these food safety laws? According to the FDA, these rules and regulations aim to prevent contamination in food products in the first place, instead of responding to it once it is already present in products that are made available for human use and consumption. The two new food safety laws will help in the effective implementation of the FMSA, according to the FDA!
The two new proposed rules include Preventive Controls for Human Food and Standards for Produce Safety.
Preventive Controls for Human Food
This new proposed food safety law covers all those facilities that produce, manufacture, hold, or pack food that is fit for human consumption. Firms that are registered with the FDA are required to submit written documents outlining a plan to identify possible hazards in the work process, choosing effective steps to rectify the problem, evaluating the steps to ensure that they are effective, and establishing a monitoring and modification plan in case the steps do not work out as well as planned.
According to the FDA food safety laws, the registered firms must cover the following areas in their written plans:
- Hazard analysis
- Risk Based Preventive Controls
- Monitoring Procedures
- Corrective Actions
Standards for Produce Safety
This new FDA food safety law focuses on agricultural produce i.e. all fruits and vegetables that are produced for human consumption. It also covers those fruits and vegetables that require further processing before they are made available for purchase. It excludes those few fruits and vegetables that are consumed in their raw form.
This FDA food safety law focuses on diminishing the levels of microorganisms present in the produce so as to safeguard human health. The following five areas have been highlighted by the proposed law as being key risk areas that need to be monitored:
- Agricultural water
- Biological soil amendments
- Health and hygiene
- Domesticated animals
- Wild animals
- Equipment, tools and buildings
Farms whose annual value of food sold has been $25,000 or less (on average) in the past three years are not required to follow the new food safety law. Farms whose average sales over the past three years have been $500,000 per year would not be required to follow all of the requirements of the food safety law. However, the FDA can revoke the exemption under certain circumstances. From the day that these food safety laws become effective, registered farms and firms will be allowed a two year compliance window to modify their work processes according to FDA requirements.