Are you FDA/FSMA compliant? – Act now to avoid penalties

Prasanna Raj

What is FDA/FSMA Compliance?

If you are in the food storage or transportation industry you need to be aware of the fast- approaching deadline for FDA/FSMA compliance. The FSMA rule on Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food mandates you to protect foods from farm to table by keeping them safe from contamination during transportation.

If you are a cold storage provider or operate refrigerated trucks or involved indirectly with loading, receiving or shipping temperature sensitive food then it is mandatory that you comply with these new FSMA rules.

What does it take to be compliant?

The section of the FSMA that impacts the shippers/carriers/cold storage operators is the section titled “Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food” of the FSMA”. You can find the entire act here.

The main emphasis of these rules is 2 folds namely:

  • To ensure proper temperature is held throughout the storage and transportation and
  • That the products are transported in sanitary conditions.

The rules specify important areas such as vehicle cleanliness/hygiene, transportation-operations, Pre-cooling the cargo, maintaining adequate monitoring and control of the temperature of the cold room or reefer truck. And most importantly maintaining e-records of the temperature logs for the storage and transportation route for a period of up to 12 months.

Proper product segregation and packaging is also essential and so is training of the operations team to follow documented processes to adhere to these guidelines.

It also clearly states that shippers/carriers should have adequate knowledge and documented procedures for maintaining and monitoring the temperature conditions of the food to ensure that the food was stored/transported at the right temperature and no temperature excursions have occurred during storage/transit or at the retail point.

Carriers/shippers/reefer operators should comply with the request to provide e-records of the temperature log for the duration of storage/transit.

The fastest route to compliance:

Compliance can be achieved easily and speedily if you start with a clear understanding of the rules, involve your entire operations/quality teams, put in place proper documented procedures and most importantly achieve proper temperature monitoring and control in all your cold rooms and reefer trucks.

While choosing a temperature monitoring system, please check if the solutions offers email/text alerts that can help you act even before a temperature violation occurs and if it has data reporting features that allow you to view, export and archive your temperature logs in a safe and easy to retrieve fashion.

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