Executive Update

GMA Plays a Leading Role on FSMA Implementation

On January 4, 2013 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released its first proposed rules under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) – covering hazard analysis and preventive controls. This affects essentially all packaged foods regulated by the FDA and represents the most sweeping changes in over 70 years.

GMA is playing a leading role in the preparation of detailed comments and tools for implementation by working closely with industry members and FDA.

On January 11 and 14, GMA hosted a two-part webinar addressing the two new FSMA rules. Part one of the webinar included experts Joe Levitt and Elizabeth Fawell of Hogan Lovells who specifically addressed what is included in the new rules, key effective dates and an implementation timeline for compliance.  Part two of the webinar featured Jenny Scott, Senior Advisor to the Director of the Office of Food Safety, FDA CFSAN and Don Kraemer, Senior Advisor, FDA CFSAN who presented an overview of the major provisions of the proposed rules, addressed the most significant changes that will be addressed by industry and hosted a question and answer session.

GMA’s FSMA Coalition also co-hosted a meeting with The Chamber of Commerce’s food safety working group on January 22, featuring a roundtable discussion with FDA on the new rules and plans for technical assistance and guidance.

In addition to joint meetings with FDA, GMA has commissioned its Associate Member Council FSMA team to evaluate several important aspects of the proposed rules and the preliminary regulatory impact analysis. For the produce safety rule, the GMA team will work closely with the United Fresh Produce Association working group, who will be contributing to comment development as appropriate.

GMA is also assisting members on many aspects of the implementation phase of FSMA, by featuring a robust science operations team with real-world plant experience and a strong core of expertise in food safety, microbiology, toxicology, chemistry, processing technology, HACCP and regulatory compliance and inspection. This team is developing an industry-leading education and training program with FSMA specific webinars that will be a valuable asset to GMA members and the food industry in general.

“Consumers expect industry and government to work together to provide Americans and consumers around the world with the safest possible products.  FSMA and its implementation effort can serve as a role model for what can be achieved when the private and public sectors work together to achieve a common goal,” said GMA President and CEO Pamela G. Bailey. “We are pleased that implementation of FSMA is moving forward and look forward to working with the FDA by continuing to share our food safety expertise and best practices and by evaluating and commenting on the proposed rules.”