FDA Food Safety Modernization Act:
Our perspective

On January 4, 2011, President Obama signed food safety legislation, ushering in a new era of food safety legislation. The new bill gives the FDA expanded authority and ability to monitor the safety of the food supply, and to take quicker and more effective action against companies that don't adequately protect against food contamination. Immediately, the FDA will have:
  • Expanded access to records if there is reasonable belief that an article of food handled by a facility is adulterated;
  • Increased inspection frequencies for all registered facilities;
  • Mandatory recall authority; and
  • Authority to require import certifications for food.

The bill also accelerates the urgency for many companies to examine every link in their food chain to ensure that they have adequate preventive controls in place to identify and prevent problems that may result in food-borne illnesses. Specifically, registered companies will be required to:
  • Perform an analysis of food safety hazards that are reasonably likely to occur in each facility;
  • Implement, maintain and monitor controls to prevent those hazards;
  • Correct controls that are insufficient;
  • Maintain documents for at least two years; and
  • Develop food defense plans aimed at preventing intentional contamination for food determined to be high-risk.

Additionally, importers will need to provide assurance that the food they import complies with U.S. food safety standards under the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. This means performing risk-based foreign supplier verification activities such as ensuring suppliers have risk-based preventive controls and monitoring records for shipments.

The legislation impacts: