The Food Modernization Act (FSMA) has been a continued and focused project for the FDA throughout 2011. The FDA is actively working on shaping and implementing the Act, and has been asking the food industry for input. Developments in numerous aspects of the Act continue to occur. Two topics within the FSMA that have been garnering some industry attention lately are user fees and tracing capabilities.
According to Quality Assurance and Food Safety, the FDA has implemented new user fees: “FDA has also identified an hourly rate for authorized user-fee situations, meaning that the charge will be based on the severity of a problem and the clarity of documentation and corrective action demonstration. FDA is now authorized to collect fees for reinspections, recall activities, and import reinspections/examinations.” The FDA did announce on its site that “Importer Reinspection User Fees” have been postponed and the “FDA will not invoice for any fees prior to January 1, 2012.”
The continued implementation of FSMA and the reality of financial implications of the Act come at a time of economic struggle for many, including a shortage of funding for the FDA. As Dr. David Acheson cites in his “Nine Month Food Safety Modernization Act Implementation Update”, “FDA will be looking to build on existing best practices and leverage programs where possible.” This means that those involved in the food industry have a capability for being influences and valued voices in this new age of food safety.
Also, the FDA announced this September the launch of two pilot programs involving product tracing. The pilots are intended “to explore and demonstrate methods for rapid and effective tracking and tracing of food, including types of data that are useful for tracing, ways to connect the various points in the supply chain and how quickly data can be made available to FDA.” Much like the user fees discussed above, the FDA is interested in garnering insight from the industry. You can check out opportunities to volunteer for the pilot project at the FDA site.
Nelson-Jameson will continue to update you on the Food Modernization Act as news develops. We’ll also share with you sources and reports that can help your operation navigate any issues that may come up.
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Voice your comments to the FDA via e-mail at FSMA@fda.hhs.gov.