According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) “around 48 million people in the U.S. get sick and 3,000 die each year from food borne disease”. That’s where the Food Safety Modernization Act comes in place.
The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)
The safety of fresh food products affects all fruit and vegetable producers. Some growers will be subject to FSMA’s new produce safety rules while other growers are under pressure from their buyers to implement food safety plans.
It is important to know that producers are the key to the safety of fresh foods. All farms, regardless of size, location, or the products grown can reduce the food safety risks.
Growers know their farms best. They know their production best practices, who make the important decisions, those who know the day-to-day tasks of the farm need to be involved in the assessment of food safety risks and in the development of the food safety plan for the farm.
The Food Safety Modernization Act was signed into law on January 4, 2011, by President Obama and it said to be the most extensive US Food Safety law reform in more than 70 years. The general objective of the FSMA is to focus on prevention of problems related to food safety rather than only reacting to existing ones. There are seven main standards included in FSMA:
- Standard for the safety of fresh agricultural products, which includes standards for growing, harvesting, packaging and storing fresh agricultural products for human consumption.
- Preventive controls for food for human consumption.
- Preventive controls for food for animal consumption.
- Foreign suppliers’ verification program.
- Accreditation of external auditors/certifications bodies.
- Sanitary transportation of food for human and animal consumption.
- Prevention of intentional contamination/adulteration
FSMA produce safety standard is the first mandated standard for produce in the United States. Prior to this, growers, manufacturers, and the rest of the produce industry were encouraged to voluntarily follow the guidelines.