FDA launches new tool to help monitor food safety system

USA – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has launched a Food Safety Dashboard designed to track the impact of the seven foundational rules of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), measure the progress and inform refining of its implementation.

The dashboard is available as part of the FDA-TRACK program, the FDA’s agency-wide performance management system.

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The agency has unveiled initial metrics that begin to track outcomes for three FSMA rules in the areas of inspections and recalls including Current Good Manufacturing Practice, Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls” rules for both human food and food for animals (preventive controls rules).

It also integrates the imported food safety rule, including data relevant to the “Foreign Supplier Verification Program” (FSVP) rule. Over time, the FDA said that the Dashboard will be populated with additional data to show more FSMA outcomes.

According to the agency, all FDA-regulated products imported into the US are required to meet the same laws and regulations as domestic food. The current data on inspections provide a snapshot into both domestic and foreign industry compliance with these regulations. 

“We are also measuring the effectiveness of oversight of foreign suppliers by U.S. importers.  This will be tracked through the classification of FSVP inspections,” the FDA said in a statement.

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“We recognize that the prevention-oriented system that FSMA created is not failproof.  With this in mind, we are also tracking the speed of response to problems when they do arise.”

One of the metrics that the FDA is beginning to track on the dashboard is how quickly a firm issues public notification for a Class 1 recall – the most urgent type of recall for human and animal food.

The FDA said that the dashboard will be updated periodically with metrics for days from recall initiation to firm press release to the public.

Interpretation of the data will however be influenced by several factors, especially in the early phases of FSMA implementation for example based on business size size to allow smaller businesses more time to comply.

Depending on the measure, the agency expects that it will take several years to establish meaningful trends to evaluate progress toward achieving the performance goals presented on the dashboard.

The regulator notes that successful implementation of FSMA will support the its goal of reducing the incidence of illness and death attributable to preventable contamination of FDA-regulated human and animal food products.

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