FSMA and Integration
With the signing into law of the FSMA on January 4, 2011, state programs now
face new challenges and opportunities. The act has five major pillars: prevention, enhanced partnerships, accountability through inspections, compliance and quick response to outbreaks and import safety. State and local food safety programs will play
major roles in the successful implementation of these five pillars. FDA must rely on
other food safety agencies to conduct inspections (provided they meet FDA standards). FDA must also develop and implement strategies to leverage and enhance the
food safety and defense capacities of state
and local agencies. These capacity upgrades
must include direct investment in state programs with a long-term commitment.
In addition to capacity building, all regulatory agencies must develop a framework
for accurate and timely communication of
information. This should include the sharing of information concerning observed
noncompliance domestically and internationally, positive lab results and trends of
foodborne illness outbreaks. This information will make work planning among stakeholders more efficient and allow more
effective allocation of resources. The conservation of resources at all levels will be a necessity as partnerships are forged between state and local programs with FDA to meet
the congressional mandate for inspections domestically and internationally. State laboratory capacity must also be enhanced to expedite the use and availability of sample
data, and must include laboratory accreditation, training in sampling and laboratory
analysis methodology. State programs have seen a significant increase in training opportunities; however, additional resources must be employed to expedite this process,
allowing states to meet the training standards more efficiently.
Implementing these changes depends on the development of a number of regula-
tions and guidelines. During this process, it is vital that all stakeholders provide input.
FDA recognizes the importance of this, which can be seen in the track the Produce
Safety Regulations have taken. These regulations will establish mandatory, science-
based, minimum standards for the safe growing, harvesting, sorting, packing and stor-
age of fresh fruits and vegetables. In 2010, prior to the drafting of these regulations,
food safety partners traveled to farms across the country and talked with farmers about
food safety and the concerns of additional regulations, allowing for a better under-
standing of food safety practices currently being implemented. Many farms have vol-
untarily utilized Good Agricultural Practices for many years. As the process moves
forward, FDA will publish a proposed rule and take public comment. The information
presented by all stakeholders will be necessary for the success of each program.
working opportunities and the consistent
promoting of public health are major
benefits of membership. AFDO has
been awarded a cooperative agreement
with FDA to develop an Alliance for Ad-
vancing a National Integrated Food
Safety System and will assist FDA in
meeting the mandates of the FSMA.
Our state university systems will play
a major, ongoing role in the food safety
continuum. Many of the services geared
to the protection of public health are becoming stressed. Many universities provide product process classification and
processing authority services. These programs are being overwhelmed by demand for product classifications and
inquiries from the cottage foods industry. Growth in these areas has delayed
the delivery of these critical services focused on developing and verifying preventive controls for ensuring product
safety. The research and development
being conducted at Fort Valley State
University, Georgia Institute of Technology and The University of Georgia bring
together the latest in processing technologies, pathogen reduction and detection methods. The products developed
from the research of today will be our
preventive controls of tomorrow.
The Georgia Department of Agriculture is currently enrolled in the Manufactured Food Regulatory Program
Standards (MFRPS). FDA set up the
standards to help ensure consistency of
inspections between the state, local and
federal levels. Through their implementation, a state or local agency can build the
foundation for its regulatory program.
MFRPS’s focus on self-assessment and
program evaluation has been a tremendous help in the continued development
of our Food Processing program. FDA
has supported the adoption of the standards by making funds available to states
for implementation, and to address critical needs noted during their self-assessments. Continued financial support will
be necessary in the future, as the standards will take years for states and locali-ties to fully implement.
“”“Most state programs utilize federal laws, regulations and guidelines to develop science-based regulations.”
tory community may be largely unaware of these technologies and systems. The validation of these technologies and the education of everyone, including consumers, on
the benefits will be key to enhancing food safety.
Industry will play a vital role in the development of an integrated food safety system. The relationships companies forge with regulatory agencies will allow the flow of
critical information and training both vertically and horizontally. Many associations
and groups are fostering this open communication in a structured environment, with
the Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO) serving as the premier association. Members include regulators from across the country in the food and drug arena
and the regulated industry. The sharing of information between members, the net-