Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)

Source: FDA Website Photo


About 48 million people (1 in 6 Americans) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die each year from foodborne diseases, according to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is a significant public health burden that is largely preventable.

“Building a new food safety system based on prevention will take time, and FDA is creating a process for getting this work done. Congress has established specific implementation dates in the legislation. Some authorities will go into effect quickly, such as FDA’s new authority to order companies to recall food, and others require FDA to prepare and issue regulations and guidance documents” (http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/ucm239907.htm)

It’s still undetermined as to how this will ultimately affect restaurants and other foodservice establishments in the US. However, according to the FDA Website, here’s what it could mean for you:

• Issuing recalls: For the first time, FDA will have the authority to order a recall of food products. Up to now, with the exception of infant formula, the FDA has had to rely on food manufacturers and distributors to recall food voluntarily.

• Conducting inspections: The law calls for more frequent inspections and for those inspections to be based on risk. Foods and facilities that pose a greater risk to food safety will get the most attention

• Importing food: The law provides significant enhancements to FDA’s ability to oversee food produced in foreign countries and imported into the United States. Also, FDA has the authority to prevent a food from entering this country if the facility has refused U.S. inspection.

• Preventing problems: Food facilities must have a written plan that spells out the possible problems that could affect the safety of their products. The plan would outline steps that the facility would take to help prevent those problems from occurring.

• Focusing on science and risk: The law establishes science-based standards for the safe production and harvesting of fruits and vegetables. This is an important step forward. These standards will consider both natural and man-made risks to the safety of fresh produce.

• Respecting the role of small businesses and farms: The law also provides some flexibility, such as exemptions from the produce safety standards for small farms that sell directly to consumers at a roadside stand or farmer’s market as well as through a community supported agriculture program (CSA). (http://www.foodsafety.gov/blog/fsma.html)

“The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the most sweeping reform of our food safety laws in more than 70 years, was signed into law by President Obama on January 4, 2011. It aims to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus from responding to contamination to preventing it” (US FDA: http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/default.htm)

Additional information about FSMA can be obtained at www.fda.gov. The full text of the law can be obtained at http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/ucm247548.htm

Earnings

Median annual wages of salaried food service managers were $46,320 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $36,670 and $59,580. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $29,450, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $76,940. Earnings of chefs, cooks, and food preparation workers vary greatly by region and the type of employer. Earnings usually are highest in elegant restaurants and hotels, where many executive chefs are employed, and in major metropolitan and resort areas. [Read more...]

Industry Outlook

Food service manager jobs are expected to grow 5 percent, or more slowly than the average for all occupations through 2018. However, job opportunities should be good because many openings will arise from the need to replace managers who leave the occupation. Job opportunities for chefs, cooks, and food preparation workers are expected to be plentiful because of the continued growth and expansion of food services outlets, resulting in average employment growth, and because of the large numbers of workers who leave these occupations and need to be replaced. However, those seeking the highest-paying positions will face keen competition. [Read more...]