FSMA – What You Need to Know

27 Sep

What is FSMA?

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is the largest overhaul and revision to the United States Food Safety Policy in over 70 years. The FDA has been developing the final rules to implement the law since it was signed into action in 2011. The main goal of the law is to increase food safety and standards for the U.S. food supply. The Food Safety Modernization act will affect every segment of the food processing business chain from farm-to-fork.

The Rules


  1. Preventive Controls for Human Food – Facilities must establish a written food safety plan, hazard analysis, preventive controls, monitoring, corrective actions and corrections, verification, supply-chain program, recall plan, and associated records.
    • Deadlines:
      • General Compliance: 09/30/2016
      • Small business (less that 500 employees): 09/30/2017
      • Very small business: 09/30/2018
  2. Product Safety Standards – Establishes science-based minimum standards for safe growing, harvesting, packing, and holding of fruits and vegetables grown for human consumption.
    • Deadlines:
      • General Compliance: January 2018
      • < $500K revenue: January 2019
      • < $250K revenue: January 2020
  3. Foreign Supplier Verification Program – Requires that importers perform certain risk-based activities to verify that food imported into the United States has been produced in a way that meets US safety standards.
    • Deadlines:
      • Importers buying RACs from a farm: 6 months after supplier’s compliance date
      • Importers buying from companies under the Preventive Controls rule: 6 months after supplier’s compliance date
      • All others: 18 months after publication – May 2017
  4. Accreditation of Third Party Auditors – Establishes a voluntary program for the accreditation of auditors to conduct food safety audits and issue certifications for facilities and the foods for humans and animals they produce.
    • Deadlines:
      • General Compliance: 10/31/2015
  5. Sanitary Transport of Food and Feed – States that those who transport food must use sanitary transportation practices to ensure the safety of that food.
    • Deadlines:
      • < 500 employees OR < $27.5 Million in annual revenue: April 2018
      • All others: April 2017
  6. Intentional Contamination/Food Defense – (still being finalized) This proposed rule
    would require domestic and foreign facilities to address vulnerable processes in their operations to prevent acts on the food intended to cause large-scale public harm.

    • Deadlines:
      • General Compliance: 1 year + 60 days from final rule
      • Small Business (less than 500 employees) compliance: 2 years + 60 days from final rule
      • Very Small Business: 3 years + 60 days from final rule

Understanding and Implementing FSMA


Staying compliant with the Food Safety Modernization Act is of utmost important for your employees, facility, and the food you handle or process. CBT provides a wide range of resources for guidance on understanding and implementing FSMA and developing a proactive safety system to avoid non-compliance. We have experienced specialists willing to walk you through hazard analysis and risk assessment, and we have partnered with industry leading manufacturers producing top-of-the-line food grade products. Contact your CBT specialist today to learn more.