Food Defense

The hidden challenges of FSMA 204

January 22, 2024 | 2 Min Read

In response to the growing food safety challenges occurring within the food system, the Obama administration signed into law the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) in 2011.

On November 15, 2022, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published the highly anticipated and long-awaited finalized Food Traceability Rule, implementing Section 204 of FSMA (FSMA Section 204).

A component of the FDA’s “New Era of Smarter Food Safety” blueprint, the rule encourages more investment in digital technology and traceability.

By creating a “digital twin” of their supply chain, combining traceability and digitalization, companies can play a crucial role in increasing the effectiveness of recalls through the swift identification and removal of contaminated foods from the market.

It is important to highlight that the rule does not recommend or suggest any particular technology to achieve its traceability aims. It does not endorse a data format, database structure, or data exchange standard. FSMA 204 prescribes what data is to be captured for particular events at specific points throughout an item’s life cycle. At a minimum, this data must be collated into an electronically sortable spreadsheet within 24 hours of a request. This requirement can rapidly scale in complexity with an increase in size, to generate several hundred if not thousands of data points.

If you have questions regarding food traceability or the FSMA, check out this previous article on those topics.

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