FDA Inspections: Are you prepared?

While the FDA is cracking down on an array of food safety violations, the following are the bare necessities of their priorities:

With the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) in full-force, food companies must prepare for the inevitable – FDA inspections. Whether they are planned or unannounced, the feds will be putting any organization under a microscope to ensure they’re executing food safety best practices and within compliance.

While the FDA is cracking down on an array of food safety violations, the following are the bare necessities of their priorities:

Visual Inspections: Whether it be cracked surfaces, rusty conveyor belts, leaky roofs, or exposed products, the FDA will be looking for these and many more potential infractions during head-to-toe facility sweeps.

Why? Because even the smallest of cracks or deterioration of manufacturing equipment can enhance the risk of creating a foodborne illness. Whether bacteria begins to collect in a cracked surface or rust from old equipment finds its way into produce, food companies must be consistently vigilante in spotting these hazards. Because if they do not, the FDA surely will. Because as Shawn Stevens, a food safety lawyer, states, “{…} When the FDA comes into the facility, it’s going to be extremely intense on finding conditions that allow bacteria to grow.”

Ignoring poor conditions will only leave these companies susceptible to major fines and penalties.

Record Keeping: The FDA mandates that at least two-years of food safety records are on file and available to investigators upon inspection. These records will be analyzed intensely to determine whether the food company is following their food safety plan, executing best practices, and being strictly compliant with FDA regulated standards.

However, why is the FDA so stringent when it comes to record keeping?

It is because they want insight as to how the product was handled, labeled, and temperature controlled during production. It also allows them to see who their suppliers are, along with their customers. This allows for completes transparency and enhances traceability along the supply chain. The idea is to ensure food does not become misbranded or adulterated, but if it does, the FDA has all the information they need to investigate the root origin and implement preventative measures to keep the public safe.