The Time is Now!
September 19, 2016 marked the date for the first wave of FSMA implementation for the largest of the food and feed companies under FDA jurisdiction. We should finally begin to have clarity into some of the requirements and expectations of the overall management program.
To that end FDA has released a draft Guidance document for comment to help provide real life examples of program expectation. Joann Givens, Co-Chair of the FSMA Operations Team also took some time recently to provide a Q & A available on the FSMA Implementation website.
What happens next in terms of FDA enforcement of these new standards?
This is new territory for food and feed companies; it’s new territory for FDA too. For years we’ve been talking about the FSMA rulemakings and implementation plans. Now, an important compliance date is here for some companies. As we enter this new chapter, the FDA’s primary focus will continue to be on education, training and technical assistance to help companies comply with the new requirements.
A top priority for FDA is providing the framework for industry’s implementation of preventive controls and CGMP requirements. FDA recently issued draft guidance documents that provide more detail on how to comply with the new standards, and there are more guidance to come, about two dozen planned over the next few years. The expectation is for continued dialogue and collaboration with regulated industry to ensure that everyone understands and engages in their respective roles in food safety.
For those mills required to meet compliance in September 2017 now is the time to begin reviewing your existing programs and developing new procedures as necessary for compliance. A HACCP/Preventive Controls assessment will need to be completed to identify the hazards associated with your processes. Training will also need to be completed for the PCQI in your organization as well as all your employees responsible for manufacturing and handling.