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Thursday, 30 March 2017

FSMA - Accredited Third-Party Certification Rule

According to FDA, "The final rule establishes a voluntary program for the accreditation of third-party certification bodies (CBs) to conduct food safety audits and issue certifications for foreign facilities, and the foods – for both people and animals -- that they produce."

You may have already seen the caveats if you have read the rule. The introducing web page states that:

“FSMA also provides FDA with a new tool to require certification as a condition of entry when certain statutory criteria are met. For example, those criteria include:
  • safety risks associated with the food product,
  • food safety risks associated with the country, region, or origin of the food, and
  • the capability of the regulatory system of the exporting nation to ensure compliance with FDA safety standards. FDA intends to use this tool in limited circumstances.”
Can the stated criteria be assessed or measured under current certification schemes? If so, how? The caveats are easy to see: “. . . you may certify but . . .”. The caveats and several hidden expectations within the rule will certainly stretch the industry to break-point if pursued as proposed. Otherwise, the whole affair will end up as another superficial enterprise. With the predictable failure of the proposed third-party certification arrangements to assure safer food, the proponents may be saying: “let’s play this along so we can say we tried”. Meanwhile, the industry will be left to bear the burden of wasted time & resources. This burden will no doubt be shifted to consumers - you and me.

You may also wish to read: Guarding Against Assumptive & Misleading Conclusions 
Posted by Felix Amiri
Felix Amiri is currently the chair of GCSE-Food & Health Protection, and a sworn SSQA advocate.

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