How did the FSMA startedThere were three major events that drove FSMA (Food Safety News).
- In 2006 the large coli O157:H7outbreak linked to spinach, drove the produce industry to push for regulatory change.
- In 2007 the deliberate contamination of wheat gluten with melamine, resulted in dead and sick pets. This event got the attention of the Bush administration due to three factors: It was deliberate, it was in imported food, and it involved China.
- In 2008 the salmonella outbreak, traced back to peanut butter paste manufactured by Peanut Corporation of America, killed 9 people and sickened 714 others, some critically, across 46 states. It was the deadliest salmonella outbreak in recent years which resulted in one of the largest food recalls in American history. The company principals got the toughest jail sentences ever.
FSMA : fresh produce safety rulesThe focus of the fresh produce regulations is on prevention of microbial contamination of fresh whole produce that may be eaten raw.
Elements of the RuleThe FDA reported that there were 6 key requirements:
- Agricultural water–No detectable level of generic coli would be allowed in water used for hand washing, food contact surface application, ice that is applied directly to produce and for sprout irrigation.
- Biological soil amendments– dealing with Raw Manure (the number of days needed between the applications of raw manure to the soil and harvesting to minimize the risk of contamination) and compost, by setting microbial limits on detectable amounts of bacteria (includingListeria monocytogenes, Salmonella , fecal coliforms, and E. coli 0157:H7).
- Domesticated and wild animals in growing areas- Farmers are required to take all measures reasonably necessary to identify and not harvest produce that is likely to be contaminated.
- Worker training and health and hygiene- Taking measures to prevent contamination of produce and food-contact surfaces by ill or infected persons, using hygienic practices, prevent visitors from contaminating the produce, and training farmer workers on the importance of health and hygiene.
- Equipment, tools and buildings- establishing rules to prevent these as sources of contamination, and providing measures to prevent contamination.
- Sprout Rules- since the product is vulnerable to contamination, there are specific rules associated with it. These rules include taking measures to prevent the introduction of dangerous bacteria, testing irrigation water for certain pathogens, testing the growing, harvesting, packing and holding environment for the presence of Listeria species orListeria monocytogenes.