FDA Proposes Safety Plan for Imported Foods

     

Temperature control is one element of a robust plan.

Food importers will be required to develop a plan to verify the safety of foods purchased from foreign suppliers, if the rule proposed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in July is implemented. This new prong of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) requires food importers to develop and follow a plan that includes hazard analysis and mitigation verification, among other provisions.

That proposed rule, the Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP), would “shift food safety from reaction to systematic prevention,” FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D., said in a media briefing. “Reasonable, science-based steps can be taken at each stage to minimize the growth of pathogens.”

Temperature control is an important step in minimizing the growth of pathogens, thereby improving food safety and extending shelf life. But ensuring temperature standards are maintained requires monitoring. It’s not enough to know the warehouse is chilled or the truck is refrigerated. Equipment breaks, accidents happen, and placement inside temperature controlled facilities matters. Savvy shippers take the extra step to know whether their products stayed cool throughout their journey and, therefore, command better prices by consistently delivering foods in their safest, freshest condition.

The FSVP, when implemented, will hold imported foods to the same safety standards as domestic foods. A temperature indicator, placed inside or outside a package, provides the evidence needed to prove temperature compliance and to alert shippers and carriers when additional temperature control measures are needed.

For more information about how temperature monitoring can help you meet FSVP and FSMA requirements, contact ShockWatch.