Operators should run a full risk assessment of their suppliers’ certifications and facilities before the legislation is fully enacted.
Supplier facilities will be required to have food safety plans and preventative controls in place, as well as access to record in case of any event. Additionally, there is a biannual facility registration process – as opposed to the one-time registration requirement that is currently in place.
Operators who import food will likely experience the biggest impact from the new legislation. Suppliers, domestic and foreign, that fail inspection will be required to undergo and pay for a re-inspection. The biggest effects from the legislation will come with the FDA’s new mandatory recall authority. The group can mandate a recall based on evidence or suspicion, and can suspend a facility accordingly.
In addition to changing foreign import practices, the FSMA also concerns restaurants that use locally-grown produce. With some small business exemptions, these businesses will be required to post their local food sources and an outline of their practices in a prominent area where customers can see the information. Fresh produce is high risk and local sourcing can increase that risk for a variety of reasons, there are dangers with any kind of produce, so it’s important to go with the right suppliers, large and small.
Before tapping a local produce supplier, operators should know: the adjacent and prior land use; pre-and post-harvest water sources. Where is it from? Is it micro-tested? What types of fertilizer are used? Raw or composted? What pest and animal control methods are taken?