Below are the latest and greatest updates  regarding compliance with the FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). It includes background on FSMA, an update from FDA with 2 new guidance documents, FDA’s extension to file biennial registrations, and an update on FDA using its enforcement power to suspend a facilities registration – meaning they can NOT import into the U.S.

FSMA Background

FSMA, enacted on January 4, 2011, amended section 415 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) [21 U.S.C. § 350d]. The registration requirements in section 415 of the FD&C Act apples to domestic and foreign food facilities that manufacture, process, pack, or hold food for human or animal consumption in the United States. Section 102 of FSMA amended section 415 of the FD&C Act in relevant part to provide that food facilities required to register with FDA must renew their registrations with FDA every other year, during the period beginning on October 1 and ending on December 31 of each even-numbered year, otherwise, their registration will be cancelled by the FDA.

Reinspection Fees

Importantly, please note that facilities will be charged reinspection fees by the FDA. Reinspections are follow-up inspections conducted by the FDA after a previous inspection by the FDA where the FDA identified non-compliance issues materially related to food safety. The purpose of the reinspection is to assure the issue has been remedied and food is now safely produced. Fees are adjusted each fiscal year. For FY 2013 (October 1, 2012-September 30, 2013), the fees are $221 an hour if no foreign travel is required, and $289 an hour if foreign travel is required. U.S. Agents will be responsible to assure these fees are collected.

FDA Extension

Because there was a delay in FDA’s implementation of biennial registration renewal for the 2012 cycle, and registration renewal did not become available until October 22, 2012, FDA’s guidance document advised that FDA intends to exercise enforcement discretion with respect to registration renewals submitted to FDA after December 31, 2012 for a period of 31 days, until January 31, 2013.

FDA Published 2 Guidance Documents:

Guidance for Industry: Questions and Answers Regarding Food Facility Registration (Fifth Edition). This guidance document contains helpful questions and answers regarding food facility registration.

Guidance for Industry: What You Need To Know About Registration of Food Facilities; Small Entity Compliance Guide. Thus guide was updated to reflect FSMA amendments to the FD&C Act, and discusses: who is required to register pursuant to the Bioterrorism

Suspension of Registration

FSMA also amended section 415 of the FD&C Act to provide FDA with the authority to suspend a food facility’s registration in certain circumstances involving food that has a reasonable probability of causing serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals. FDA already used this power and suspended the registration of Sunland, a producer of nuts. The full story may be read here.