Food

Preventive Standards

Information available related to Preventive Standards under the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).



Prevention as Cornerstone of FDA Food Safety Modernization Act

About 48 million people (1 in 6 Americans) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die each year from foodborne diseases, according to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is a significant public health burden that is largely preventable.


The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), signed into law by President Obama on Jan. 4, enables FDA to better protect public health by strengthening the food safety system. It enables FDA to focus more on preventing food safety problems rather than relying primarily on reacting to problems after they occur.

Building a new food safety system based on prevention will take time, and FDA is creating a process for getting this work done. Congress has established specific implementation dates in the legislation. The funding the Agency gets each year, which affects staffing and vital operations, will affect how quickly FDA can put this legislation into effect. FDA is committed to implementing the requirements through an open process with opportunity for input from all stakeholders.

The following are among FDA’s key new prevention authorities and mandates. Specific implementation dates specified in the law are noted in parentheses:

For the first time, FDA will have a legislative mandate to require comprehensive, science-based preventive controls across the food supply. This mandate includes:

  • Mandatory preventive controls for food facilities: Food facilities are required to implement a written preventive controls plan. This involves: (1) evaluating the hazards that could affect food safety, (2) specifying what preventive steps, or controls, will be put in place to significantly minimize or prevent the hazards, (3) specifying how the facility will monitor these controls to ensure they are working, (4) maintaining routine records of the monitoring, and (5) specifying what actions the facility will take to correct problems that arise. (Final rule due 18 months following enactment)
  • Mandatory produce safety standards: FDA must establish science-based, minimum standards for the safe production and harvesting of fruits and vegetables. Those standards must consider naturally occurring hazards, as well as those that may be introduced either unintentionally or intentionally, and must address soil amendments (materials added to the soil such as compost), hygiene, packaging, temperature controls, animals in the growing area and water. (Final regulation due about 2 years following enactment)
    Authority to prevent intentional contamination: FDA must issue regulations to protect against the intentional adulteration of food, including the establishment of science-based mitigation strategies to prepare and protect the food supply chain at specific vulnerable points. (Final rule due 18 months following enactment)  

Guidance and Rules

Full Text of the Law Relating to Prevention

Training

Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance
FDA, in cooperation with the Institute for Food Safety and Health, has created the Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance to develop training courses and materials to help industry, particularly small- and medium-sized companies, comply with the upcoming preventive control rules. 

Public Meetings

Speeches and Statements

Reports

Page Last Updated: 09/19/2014
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