FDA Food Safety Modernization Act:
Impact on retailers and food service

"…Approximately 50 cents of every food dollar is now spent on food prepared outside the home in restaurants, vending machines, movie theaters, and schools. This development has many consequences for food safety, such as the need to ensure adequate training for food service workers across the country and to consider the potential widespread impact of deliberate tampering with the food supply."
-- From "Key Findings" of the federal agency "Food Safety Working Group," July 2009

As the final stop before the consumer on the journey from farm-to-fork, the retail food service sector will face fewer direct impacts from the new food safety legislation than upstream elements of the supply chain, where much of the new inspection power will focus.

However, the recent legislation reflects the new realities of the way Americans consume food, as expressed in the comment above. Restaurants and retail food service will face greater government emphasis on high quality data collection to drive new requirements, such as:

Traceability and food-borne illness notification

More rigorous record keeping aimed at enhancing product-tracing capability and integrity of the supply chain. This is consistent with the Food Safety Working Group's push for a food tracing system that can decrease reaction time in case of a food-borne illness outbreak.

Import scrutiny

New certification requirements for certain high-risk foods. Companies will need to provide assurance that the food they import complies with the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, which will mean increased due diligence of foreign suppliers. Depending on how much imported food a company uses, these provisions could have significant impact on operations.