AMES, Iowa — All facilities that manufacture, process, pack or hold food (human and animal) within the United States are required to register with the Food and Drug Administration in accordance with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) signed into law January 2011. The registration renewal is a biennial requirement and must be completed by Dec. 31, 2012.
The FDA registration renewal can be completed online at https://www.access.fda.gov/oaa/. An Iowa State University Extension and Outreach team of Iowa Grain Quality Initiative and Food Science specialists has prepared a Web-based tutorial to assist facilities in the re-registration process. The tutorial is available at https://connect.extension.iastate.edu/p6xjpfazy65/ and www.iowagrain.org.
“While many of the Food Safety Modernization Act regulations are expected to be announced in the near future, certain actions are already required by the law. One of those is the registration and re-registration of food handling facilities,” said Charles Hurburgh, Iowa Grain Quality Initiative professor-in-charge. “This tutorial is a guide through the registration process.”
Through FSMA, the FDA has been given wide latitude in creating preventative actions plans, the recall of potentially hazardous products and other actions intended to support safe foods, Hurburgh said. FSMA will apply to all grain handlers, processors, haulers and feed mills. The extent of the application to each type of facility will not be known until the rules are released.
“One thing we do know is everyone in the bulk grain industry must have a verified food safety preventive action plan,” said Angela Shaw, extension food safety specialist. “Verified means facilities must demonstrate the ability to prove the effectiveness of prevention and control of food safety concerns on an ongoing basis.”
The team led by Shaw and Hurburgh has created a checklist to assist facilities in assessing present food safety preparedness. The food safety plan checklist is a guide for future development. It is not an audit outline, nor is it the structure of the coming regulations. It can help facilities identify risks and potential food safety gaps in their operations, Shaw said. The checklist can be downloaded from the Iowa Grain Quality website, www.iowagrain.org, under the FDA-FSMA, Grain Handling and Processing tab.
“Our team is committed to the bulk grain industry and works to ensure that facilities have the educational material to be prepared for new food regulations,” said Shaw.