Food Safety Modernization Act in the Home

Posted by Melissa Bennett | April 9, 2015 | blog

Food Safety Modernization Act, What is it?

For more information about the FSMA, click here for a brief overview of what it is and how it will change the transportation industry.

With the new rule for the Food Safety Modernization Act: Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal food, we are being forced to think about the quality and sanitation of our food.  But the rules for food safety don’t apply only to transportation companies. The warnings and rules also apply to at-home food sanitation.

Using the FSMA rules as a guide, let’s look at food safety once food enters your home

The FSMA rule 7 Deals with several topics where food safety in concerned: Separating Food, Sanitation of Surface and Refrigeration of food.

Separation of foods:

In the new rule foods must be kept separate during shipping. This precaution is to reduce the risk of cross contamination which occurs when one food needing to cooked to a certain temperature or needing to be refrigerated comes into contact with another food that is consumption ready.  This commonly happens when for instance, chicken touches an apple. A person may bite into the apple fully confident that the apple is safe, and find themselves with a horrible stomach ache minutes later from ingesting raw chicken, of even contract a food-borne illness.

In the new rule 7 for FSMA foods must be shipped in entirely different loads and must be washed out in between loads to prevent cross contamination. At home, it is not possible to keep each food item in a separate refrigerator, so the question is, how to ensure no cross contamination after the food product has made it safely to your home?
All the careful shipping and safety measures in the world will be of no good if simple at home precautions are not taken

            A few things to remember:
  • Containers– if the food is not stored in an airtight container, it would potentially cross contaminate
  • Drips– do not assume that chicken stored on a shelf above the apples will not contaminate just because the foods are not touching. Even well wrapped chicken can drip onto foods stored underneath.
  • Groupings– It is okay to store open fruits next to other fruits but it is not safe to store fruit with and food containing protein such as meat.


Sanitation of Surfaces:

The Food Safety Modernization (FSMA) rule 7 talks specifically about the cleanliness of the truck itself when transporting goods.

This is because no matter how segregated the food is, if the surface is dirty, the food will become dirty and possibly cross-contaminated. The same goes for inside your house.

If you have cut chicken on a surface, and you place an apple on the surface to cut, the apple is now contaminated. You need to clean the surface in-between putting different foods on them the same way trucks need to be washed out in between loads. And just like trucks, surfaces need more than a simple wipe down. They need to be cleaned with soap and water and then dry before placing other kinds of food on the same surface. This ensures that any microbes or bacteria are killed and washed away.


Refrigeration of Foods:

Perhaps the biggest reason for the new rules being added is the problems with refrigeration during transport that the FDA noticed. Foods needing refrigeration start going bad as soon as they leave the refrigerator. According to the FDA, food becomes questionable when it has been exposed to temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit for more than two hours.  Even when food is properly refrigerated it wont last forever.


If you follow these simple rules, you can be assured that your food is safe to eat.


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