By fall 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will roll out new regulatory changes as part of the Food Safety and Modernization Act. While there’s still plenty of time for businesses to prepare, the sooner they get started, the better their chances at staying compliant.
Foreign supplier verification program
Supermarkets distributing international foodstuffs will need to integrate more transparency into their supply chain. Once the FSMA is underway, supermarkets will assume the onus of responsibility to verify their foreign fresh and packaged goods suppliers comply with all required food safety measures.
Warehouse/Distribution center safety
New food safety passed down by the FDA won’t stop at suppliers – if supermarkets manage multiple distribution centers or warehouses, they will all be subject to the preventative controls section of the FSMA. This includes a greater degree of oversight in general, as well as a more active and transparent verification process to ensure every facility addresses noncompliance with rigor. How extensive these controls will be depends on the kinds of food stored at the facilities in question.
As many as 65 percent of shoppers buy store brands if they’re available, but supermarkets selling their own in-house products may be required to take extra steps to enforce food safety under the new FDA guidelines. Certain conditions apply, so before supermarkets change their operations, they should consult the legislation.
Visible recall notices
Between 2014 and 2015, more than 300 food recalls were issued, many on account of bacterial or viral infections or undeclared allergens. To prevent consumer illness, grocery stores and supermarkets will now be forced to display recall notices more prominently to keep customers in the loop.
Documentation and verification
Greater supplier and distribution center transparency benefits the companies that follow through. Beyond reporting and tracking this information in-house, supermarkets and groceries stores will need to share this information electronically with the FDA to prove compliance with the FSMA.