The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was signed into law on January 4, 2011, by President Barak Obama and represents the most widespread and sweeping reform to American food safety laws in the last 70 years. The FDA website explains that the FSMA “gives the FDA new mandates, authorities, and oversight tools aimed at providing solid assurances that those practices are being carried out by the food industry on a consistent, on-going basis.”
So what exactly is the FSMA and why does it matter to VersaCold clients? Read more to find out how the law could affect your business and what VersaCold is doing to ensure compliance for its customers.
Why was the FSMA necessary in the United States?
While the reasons for a law can be varied and complicated, the origins of this law likely came out of several high-profile recalls that occurred during the 2000s over a short period. The public outcry regarding food safety put significant pressure on both Canadian and United States regulatory bodies to address this growing concern. Past food regulation was traditionally reactionary, opposed to being preventative, and usually required regulators to deal with the problems on the site once an incident had occurred. While this was effective in containing and eliminating a problem at a particular facility, it did not stop the problem from occurring at other sites.
The FSMA sought to rectify this issue by putting preventative controls in place that placed the onus on manufacturers to put controls on hazards that could impact the customers.
How does the FSMA affect cross-border clients?
The FSMA consists of seven foundational rules that were put into place with the goal of modernizing food safety utilizing a risk-based framework that makes both the manufacturer and the shipper accountable going forward. The biggest impact on VersaCold customers has been the rule that recently came into effect on Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Foods. As stated by the FDA, the rule “advances the FDA’s efforts to protect foods from farm to table by keeping them safe from contamination during transportation” and has the goal of “prevent(ing) practices during transportation that create food safety risks, such as failure to properly refrigerate food, inadequate cleaning of vehicles between loads, and failure to properly protect food.”
With the new rule putting the onus on both the company and the shipper, customers look to VersaCold to take the necessary steps to be compliant with these regulations.
Why is compliance important and what steps has VersaCold taken to ensure compliance?
For both VersaCold and the customer, compliance with FSMA is something that is taken very seriously. The United States is very firm on holding facilities accountable and will stop trucks to ensure verification. The inability to verify could result in products being delayed or even rejected at the border. This loss of time and money is inexcusable and that is why VersaCold goes above and beyond to provide its customers with peace of mind that they are doing everything possible to maintain compliance.
What exactly is VersaCold doing to ensure compliance?
- Vehicle transportation equipment has been assessed to ensure that design and dimensions are such that they support food safety and freshness.
- Compliance training has been reinforced for staff throughout all parts of the supply chain on best practices regarding handling and transporting food items.
- Maintaining proper records and documentation for 12 months as required by FSMA.
By taking the necessary steps to ensure compliance, VersaCold allows clients to rest easy knowing they never have to worry when operating within the United States.
Interested in learning more about VersaCold services within the United States? Contact one of our Sales Specialists today at [email protected] or 1-800-563-COLD and let us show you why we are the right choice for your business.