Important exemptions to the Food Safety Modernization Act for small value added producers

Certain small value added producers will be exempt from some provisions of the Food Safety Modernization Act, but need to have an identified potential hazards and establish monitoring program.

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) granted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) increased authority to require food processors to implement preventive controls; it also requires the FDA to conduct mandated inspections. The FDA will also have the authority for mandatory recalls, increased inspection of imported food and has been directed to work closely with local authorities in regard to food safety. On July 4, 2012 the preventative control provisions of the act were placed in effect. However some small producers have been exempted from some provisions of the FSMA.

Which small producers qualify for exemption?
Facilities that presently operate with an established Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP)  plan are exempt. For instance, juice or fish processors who presently operate under a HACCP plan are exempt. Additionally, producers qualify for an exemption if they have greater direct market food product sales than wholesale food product sales and total average annual food product sales are less than $500,000. In other words, if direct sales are more than 50 percent of your total sales and average annual sales is less than $500,000, the producer qualifies for an exemption.

The FSMA requires that the FDA provide further definition of the terms “Small Business” and “Very Small Business” which will help guide producers, in the future, understand exemptions.

What are the requirements for exempted producers?
For each facility the producer must document that potential hazards associated with the food product being produced have been identified, preventive controls have been implemented and monitoring of the preventive controls to insure effectiveness. In lieu of the aforementioned documentation, producers must be in compliance of all state and local food safety laws.

For more information regarding the Food Safety Modernization Act, visit the FDA’s FSMA website.

The Michigan State University Product Center provides food safety testing and assistance to help Michigan entrepreneurs develop and commercialize high-value, consumer-responsive products and businesses in the value-added agriculture, food and natural resources sectors.

For more information, visit the Product Center’s website or call 517-432-8750.

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