1. Develop a Food Safety Plan
This is the first step in ensuring FSMA compliance and involves creating a comprehensive plan that covers all aspects of food safety, from sourcing ingredients to production, handling, and distribution. This plan should include policies and procedures for controlling potential food safety hazards such as physical, chemical, biological, and allergen contamination.1
2. Establish Critical Control Points
Critical control points (CCPs) are key locations or activities where hazards could occur, and must be identified and controlled in order for a food safety program to be effective. Examples of critical control points include receiving raw materials, monitoring temperature during storage and transport, and sanitation of equipment.
3. Train Employees on Food Safety Procedures
It’s important to educate employees on FSMA-compliant processes and procedures so they can recognize potential issues and follow the correct protocols to ensure safe food production. Training should involve both classroom instruction as well as hands-on exercises that simulate real field situations.
4. Monitor and Manage Hazards
Once CCPs have been identified and training is complete, it’s important to monitor and manage hazards throughout the food production process. This involves regularly checking for potential risks and taking corrective action when necessary.
5. Verify that Supplier Contracts Include Food Safety Requirements
It’s essential to ensure that all of your suppliers are following FSMA-compliant processes, from sourcing ingredients to packaging and storage. Make sure supplier contracts include specific requirements related to food safety in order to protect both you and your customers.
6. Conduct Product Sampling and Testing
Product sampling is an important part of any FSMA compliance program, as it allows you to identify potential issues before they become widespread problems. This can involve testing for microbial contaminants as well as physical, chemical, and allergen hazards
7. Keep Records of Your Activities
Maintaining detailed records is key to FSMA compliance, as it allows you to track the progress of your food safety program over time. This includes keeping records of test results, training activities, product sampling and testing, supplier contracts, and more.
8. Report any Violation to the FDA
If a violation is found in your facility or from one of your suppliers, it’s important to report it to the FDA as soon as possible. This will allow them to investigate the issue and work with you to rectify any issues that are discovered.
9. Perform a Routine Self-Assessment
It’s essential to regularly assess your food safety program and verify that all procedures are being followed correctly. This can be done through self-assessments, third-party audits, or FSMA compliance software.
10. Update Your Plan as Needed
As regulations change, it’s important to update your plan accordingly to ensure continued compliance with FSMA requirements. This may involve revising policies, implementing new processes and procedures, or making adjustments to critical control points in order to minimize potential risks.