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FDA updates FSMA FAQs, adds third-party certification bodies

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently updated its Frequently Asked Questions on the Food Safety Modernization Act and highlighted two additional certification bodies accredited under its Third-Party Certification Program.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently updated its Frequently Asked Questions on the Food Safety Modernization Act and highlighted two additional certification bodies accredited under its Third-Party Certification Program.

The FDA’s Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section now includes questions and answers related to the Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption (Produce Safety Rule).

The Produce Safety Rule was finalized in 2015, establishing for the first time science- and risk-based minimum standards for the safe growing, harvesting, packing and holding of fruits and vegetables. Since that date, the FDA has worked to provide farms with information and training that helps them comply with the rule’s requirements. In October 2018, the agency published a draft guidance to further support compliance with and implementation of the rule and made available at-a-glance overviews.

The updated FAQ includes responses to many common questions the FDA says it received through the FSMA Technical Assistance Network (TAN).

Those with additional questions not covered in the FAQ are encouraged to submit the questions to the FSMA TAN. Inquiries are answered by FDA information specialists or subject matter experts, based on the complexity of the question, as soon as possible. Response times vary, due to question complexity and the volume of inquiries received.

FDA also says it recently learned of two additional third-party certification bodies.

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) notified the agency that it accredited Florida Certified Organic Growers & Consumers, INC DBA Quality Certification Services as a certification body for the following scopes: Produce Safety, Preventive Controls for Human Food (PCHF), Juice Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP), and Seafood HACCP.

And The International Accreditation Services Inc (IAS) has notified the FDA it accredited Best ISO Certification Co Ltd of Taichung, Taiwan as a certification body for the following scopes: Acidified Foods, Juice HACCP, PCHF, and Produce Safety.

The accreditation means these certification bodies were given the authority to conduct food safety audits and issue food and facility certifications under FDA’s Accredited Third-Party Certification Program.

Certifications issued by CBs accredited through this program can be used by importers to establish eligibility for participation in the Voluntary Qualified Importer Program (VQIP), and in certain circumstances that the FDA can require imported products be certified before entering the United States. To date, six certification bodies have received accreditation.

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