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The Food Chain Develops Additional Links: The Food Safety Modernization Act Grants the FDA Expanded Authority and Increases Regulation of Food Business

On December 19, 2010, Congress passed the Food Safety Modernization Act (the “FSMA”) which grants the Food and Drug Administration (the “FDA”) broadened authority to regulate and oversee the growing, production, transportation and distribution of food products.   The FSMA was prompted by a number of food contamination cases over the past decade (i.e. beef, peanuts, spinach and cookie dough) and is widely considered to be the first major item of federal legislation addressing food safety since 1938.

The FSMA was signed into law by President Obama on January 4, 2011.  Below is a summary of certain of the key provisions of the FSMA that will most heavily impact food businesses.

  • Regulation.  The FSMA grants the FDA greater authority to create regulations governing production, further processing and distribution of food products.
  • Programs.  The FSMA requires food businesses to adopt new (and potentially costly) programs aimed at reducing the risks associated with the most significant food borne contaminants.
  • Registration and Notification.  The FSMA provides for increased registration programs for food businesses and increased notification procedures relating to food borne issues.
  • Fees.  The FSMA provides for the assessment and collection of various fees relating to reinspection of food facilities and food recalls.
  • Access to Records.  The FSMA requires food businesses to open their books to the government for the stated purpose of enhancing food borne illness surveillance systems.
  • Recall Authority.  The FSMA grants the Secretary of Health and Human Services the authority to order a mandatory recall of a food article, as opposed to the voluntary recall system in place prior to the FSMA.

McGrath North will work with the FDA on behalf of our clients to help shape the regulations that will be proposed by the FDA in the near future to implement the provisions of the newly enacted FSMA.