The January 20, 2026 compliance deadline for FDA’s Food Traceability Rule (FSMA 204) is now just two years away. That may seem like a long time for your company to get ready, but it really isn’t given the complexity and scope of the preparations that must be made by companies that manufacture, process, pack, or hold commodities on the Food Traceability List (FTL).
The predominant goal of FSMA 204 is to allow for faster identification and rapid removal of potentially contaminated food from the market. The rule requires companies that manufacture, process, pack, or hold foods on the FTL to maintain records containing Key Data Elements (KDEs) associated with specific Critical Tracking Events (CTEs). They must provide that information, in the form of an Electronic Sortable Spreadsheet, to FDA within 24 hours or within a reasonable time to which the FDA has agreed.
The key takeaway is that FSMA 204 is a rule, not a suggestion. If your company does not comply, you could face legal repercussions.
If you have questions regarding food traceability or the FSMA, check out this previous article on those topics.