When president Obama signed the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) into law in 2011 it was the largest overhaul of food safety regulations since the creation of the FDA. The current law builds on the food transportation best practices that were already in place. These concern cleaning, inspection, maintaining, loading and unloading, and operating vehicles and equipment.
On March 20, 2014 yet another rule was proposed for the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The rule deals specifically with the transport of Food Products. The proposed rule is called “FSMA Rule Number Seven: Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food.” The final rules are expected late this year (2015) and are deemed “economically significant”. This means that the cost of operation for every transportation company in the US will go up significantly. There is not much time for companies to react to the new rules if they want to stay in compliance and do not want to risk a major fine or even a criminal prosecution!
Under FSMA Rule 7: Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food…
*This list is only an overview of some of the rules that are included in the act as it stands at last update. Please see the full document for specifics. Updated March 17, 2015
Costs: The FDA estimated first year costs because of FSMA Rule 7 will be 149.1 million dollars cumulatively or $1,800 on average per business.
Time Frame: Businesses will only have one to two years to comply with the new regulations. Large businesses will have one year while small businesses will be given two years. After that time, any company operating outside of the new regulations will be subject to the consequences.
Consequences: Not adhering to the new rules of the FSMA will be more severe than before. For first time minimum offenses, administrative action will be taken, (e.g. warning letters.) but for more serious or second time offenses, the consequences could be injunction or even criminal prosecution.
Now is the time to check and revise your procedures involving proper cleaning and sanitation and record keeping. The exact regulations will not be available until the act passes- likely in 2015– but there is no reason you shouldn’t get a head start now!