At one of the early morning sessions on day two of the GFSI Global Food Safety Conference being held in Houston, USA, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) spoke about the value of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) in driving global food safety.
The FSMA was signed into law in January 2011 and aims to ensure the US food supply is safe by shifting the focus of federal regulators from responding to contamination to preventing it. During the session, the FDA said; “As we enter the compliance phase for FSMA, it is a new era for both food companies and us, the regulators and high rates of compliance are key to FSMA success.”
The FSMA includes preventive controls for human food and animal food and contains specific requirements for foreign food suppliers and importers and the identification of preventive controls qualified individuals to name but a few. The FSMA gives the FDA authority for the first time to ensure that imported products meet US standards and are safe for US consumers, and specific requirements are in place for foreign supplier verification.
The FDA spoke about their commitment to the FSMA and said “We will focus on training and educating whilst working with the food industry to create a culture of compliance.”
The FDA also spoke about the importance of management in driving a strong food safety culture, to include systems and training, a theme that resonates with LRQA’s own approach to delivering a wide range of food safety assurance services, as John Rowley, Managing Director LRQA explains: “The food safety culture of an organization starts with the buy-in and support of senior management. Leadership has a fundamental role to play in driving employee engagement through individual and group values, attitudes, competencies and patterns of behavior that deliver the commitment to any food safety programme.”