The 2010 Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the topic of last month’s column,, merits another look. The food defense clampdown it has triggered and its expanding reach into the food supply chain are too great to ignore.[emember_protected custom_msg=”Click here and register now to read the rest of the article!”]
For review, the intent of the FSMA is to ensure that the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus from responding to food contamination to preventing it. When all the new regulations within the act’s 89 pages are fully implemented and bolstered by the 769 pages of the 2013 US Food Code, the government will have the means— and the power— to track and regulate food products from their source (acreage in the case of fruits and vegetables) to the consumer.
Historically, U.S. food safety/defense enforcement has been often sporadic, but the FSMA is supposed to change that. Everything related to food production, shipping and storage is subject to greater scrutiny.
So far, our experience with the FSMA at Adams Cold Storage has been mixed. In one case, we received cheese that was out of specifications on temperature. It was too warm. When we followed the rules and reported deviation, state authorities, acting as agents for and at the direction of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, instructed us to accept the cheese because the manufacturer fully stood behind it. We did as instructed and later learned that the school system that ended up with some of the product reported it as being bad. The irony here is that a manufacturer’s warranty does not preclude illness from a suspect product— and money is wasted.
Most farmers and growers have been doing for generations what they think is the right thing in regard to food safety, but the “right thing” is changing. So many new regulations are on the books, and it’s going to get expensive. Farm bureaus and growers associations can play a huge role in helping their members understand and implement the FSMA.
column by BEN ADAMS, JR.
BIO: Ben Adams Jr. is an owner and president of Adams Cold Storage LLC in Auburndale. He has been directly involved in citrus production, warehousing and distribution, as well as state and community support, since 1980. His facility incorporates 200,000 square feet of multi-temperature warehousing, with an extensive expansion plan on the horizon.
This column is sponsored by Adams Cold Storage.[/emember_protected]