The Food and Drug Administration has issued new rules on what manufacturers need to do to keep food clean and safe. The new rules stem from a not-so-new law — the 2010 Food Safety Modernization Act. Congress passed that law in response to outbreaks of food-borne illnesses that killed some people, and sporadic outbreaks keep happening.
The FDA is now requiring food manufacturers to have written plans in place that detail the food safety hazards at their facilities and how they will address them.
“A lot of the companies are really going to do a lot of testing, and a lot of record-keeping, and a lot of monitoring to make sure that they are in compliance with controlling these hazards that they identify,” says Randall Phebus, who teaches food science and safety at Kansas State University. But Phebus notes a lot of food manufacturers, such as those in the Grocery Manufacturers Association, are on board with the new rules.
“It’s really new for them,” he says. “They really want to produce safer food, they really want to comply with the rule, but they need some time.”
Small companies have up to three years to implement the new policies, and larger companies have to comply in one.
What do the new rules mean for consumers? Here’s the FDA’s Q & A.