Society as a whole is more food conscious than ever before. The diets that exist today each claim to be the healthiest and limit what people can and cannot eat. But, even more so than these diets, people care about what they’re putting in their bodies. They want to know how the food was grown/raised, where it came from and, most importantly, is it safe to eat.
Why the Food Safety Modernization Act is so Important
We see the headlines all the time: “Eggs recalled due to possible salmonella outbreak,” or “boxed salads recalled due to fear of Cyclospora outbreak.” Then, the search begins to see what caused the foodborne illness outbreak. Usually, the issue stems from something that went wrong in the growing or processing stage of the supply chain, but the possibility of contamination occurring during the transportation process must also be considered.
That’s where the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) comes into play. The law, which was signed into effect in 2011 by President Obama, gave the Food and Drug Administration new authorities to regulate the way foods are grown, harvested and processed. Although it wasn’t the first piece of legislation aimed at improving food safety standards, it’s considered to be the first major piece of federal legislation addressing food safety since 1938.
This presented challenges such as increased accountability, improved monitoring of the supply chain, quicker adoption of best practices and more collaboration within the industry. If shippers and carriers don’t meet the requirements set forth by the FSMA, they are subjected to fines. Also, they must pay fees to cover the cost of inspections.
FSMA and Carrier Compliance
But, what can be even more debilitating for shippers and carriers is if they are found responsible for a foodborne illness outbreak. The damage to the company’s reputation can cause them to lose out on current and future business, which can potentially lead to shutting the business down. So, following the regulations of the FSMA becomes even that much more important.
While transportation is just one aspect of the supply chain in the food and beverage industry, it’s an area that is just as important as any other.