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June 5, 2024

Ever Heard Of FSMA? Here’s Its Tremendous Impact On Supermarkets & Restaurants

Tony Treadway

Ever Heard Of FSMA? Here’s Its Tremendous Impact On Supermarkets & Restaurants

Food manufacturers have been preparing for the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) for more than a decade. The new regulations, designed to protect consumers from foodborne illnesses, will have a significant impact on supermarkets wholesalers, distributors, and restaurants.

The added attention to food safety is warranted. According to the U.S. Centers For Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) estimates 48 million people get sick, resulting in 148,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths each year. Prior to FSMA, the focus for food safety was placed on responding to contamination incidents after they occurred, rather than preventing them from happening in the first place. 

FSMA is warranted because the landscape of the food system has been transformed toward more globalization of food growing, production, and distribution. It has made the supply chain much more complex. It has significantly increased the potential of contamination. On a recent tour of a facility importing tons for raw food material from more than two dozen countries, much of the processing involves extensive tracking and testing of every sack or tote to assure food safety that can be part of a traceability path to the consumer’s plate.

Any restaurant selling more than $250,000 annually will be required to provide traceability records…

Section 204 of FSMA that focuses on fresh foods, such as produce, fruits, cheese, eggs, finfish, and other fresh items. The regulation mandates that certain food facilities maintain records to identify potential hazards and take necessary steps to prevent food safety issues. This requirement is particularly crucial for supermarkets and restaurants, which handle a wide array of perishable and non-perishable goods, including fresh produce, meat, dairy, and packaged foods. Compliance with this section necessitates robust record-keeping practices and the implementation of systems that ensure traceability throughout the entire supply chain.

For restaurants, any operation selling more than $250,000 annually to consumers will be required to provide traceability records, so even small operators will be impacted. Operators selling between $250,000 and $1 million each year will have a higher level of reporting required, and any restaurant with more than $1 million in sales will be required to maintain electronic records on every shipment of almost everything they purchase for their menu.

While the full implementation of Section 204 is two years away, smart supermarket retailers and restaurants need to go to work on appropriate systems and training to meet the new standards.  

FSMA represents a tremendous challenge to every company in the food chain adding significant costs that ultimately impacts the consumer through higher prices during pocket numbing inflation. With FSMA, balancing regulations worthy of protecting families from food illness and generating store traffic and sales just happens to be the latest hurdle in food business. If you are seeking solutions to grow your brand’s awareness and sales, we are ready to help