The FDA announced on Oct. 30 that a voluntary pilot program is being implemented to help both the federal agency and the produce industry get a clear picture on the alignment between third-party food safety audits and the Food Safety Modernization Act’s Preventive Controls for Human Food and Produce Safety Rules.
This pilot will be conducted over the course of a year and is part of goals established under the New Era of Smarter Food Safety Blueprint, which states that FDA is exploring the reliability of third-party audits in ensuring food safety.
In a story from Food Safety Tech published at https://foodsafetytech.com/news_article/fda-starts-voluntary-pilot-program-to-assess-third-party-food-safety-audit-standards-against-fsma/
the FDA is noted as saying in a constituent email sent recently, “The FDA understands that determinations that third-party audit standards align with the FSMA regulations could provide importers and receiving facilities with confidence that the standards used to audit their suppliers adequately consider FDA’s food safety requirements. In addition, alignment determinations could help the FDA’s investigators more efficiently determine whether importers and receiving facilities are in compliance with the FSMA supplier verification requirements.”
The Food Safety Tech story added, that during the pilot, “FDA will assess up to five third-party food safety standards for alignment with the above-mentioned FSMA rules—including what resources are needed to review and assess those standards, and whether the pilot participants can provide adequate information allow FDA to determine alignment.”
The FDA is further quoted as saying in a release, “Alignment determinations would give those relying on audits conducted to those standards confidence that they are meeting certain FDA requirements for supplier verification audits. In addition, the pilot will enable FDA to gain information and experience that will allow the Agency to evaluate the resources and tools required to conduct alignment reviews.”
The FDA is requesting that requests from constituents who want to participate in the pilot be submitted in the Federal Register within 30 days.