Foodborne illness is a serious condition that affects 48 million Americans each year, according to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration(FDA). On January 4, 2011, the structure of the American food industry was forever altered with the passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which placed a strategic focus on the prevention of foodborne illness.
Under the FSMA, all food venues are required to register with the FDA. This includes both foreign and domestic food operations. The Bioterrorism Act passed in 2003also made registration a legal food obligation; however, the FSMA added additional requirements to aid in food safety nationwide.
According to FoodSafety.gov, the FSMA granted the FDA the right to activate changes in the following areas:
- “Issuing recalls,” conducting inspections,” “importing food,” “preventing problems,” “focusing on science and risk,” “respecting the role of small business and farms.”
And, one of the most notable mandates demands that all food venues complete registration biannually — outlined in Section 102.
Since January 2011, the food industry has awaited further direction regarding compliance to the FSMA. According to Association of Corporate Council, on Oct. 22 of this year, the FDA officially began registration, and also published a guidance document on Oct. 20 entitled: Guidance for Industry: Necessity of the Use of Food Product Categories in Food Facility Registrations and Updates to Food Product Categories.
Within the guidance document, the FDA extended the list of food categories, under which vendors must make a distinction “of any food manufactured, processed, packed, or held at such facility.” Newly added food categories include food for both humans and animals.
How To Register
Are you unsure of whether you are included in mandatory registration? FSMA applies to “all facilities that engage in manufacturing or processing of feed or food that are not otherwise exempt…” according to the FDA’s Food Facility Registration: Who, How, and When? For example, restaurants and farms are both exempt from registering.
If your facility is required to register, you can do so by visiting https://www.access.fda.gov/oaa/. Registration began on Oct. 22, and will close on Dec. 31, 2012.