Today’s consumers demand a food supply that is reasonably safe from all foreseeable hazards, including microbial, chemical, and physical threats. In the past several years, even with a substantial food safety system in place, a number of highly recognizable food safety incidents involving fruits and vegetables, and imported human and animal food have occurred.
In 2011, Congress passed, and the President signed, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) transforming the food safety system from one that reacts to problems to a preventative system, with the capability to still react quickly to emerging problems. When fully implemented, FSMA will result in “preventive controls” in place for human and animal food facilities and for producing, packing, shipping and selling of fruits, vegetables and other raw agricultural products. FSMA is the largest statutory overhaul of food law in history. It will take years to implement and additional resources to accomplish. Overall, FSMA requires a preventive approach, based on risk, as well as the best available, scientifically-proven technologies. It should eliminate duplication and improve efficiency. It should also ensure consistency between federal, state and local agencies, and afford interested parties a forum in which to seek clarification when information seems inconsistent.