About the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is in the process of creating an established testing program in conjunction with accredited laboratories in an effort to review the safety of food and animal feeds in unique circumstances.
The proposed rule system would require accredited laboratories to test feed and food as enforced by the FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). According to the FDA, any laboratories that participate in the accreditation program will be required to follow a set of model standards along with an oversight system in place.
The guidelines are intended to provide regulation that will ultimately result in better accuracy and reliability of feeds and food testing. FSMA compliance will further ensure that consistent testing standards are being upheld. Labs that wish to become accredited through the program will need to apply for the certification process.
Under this program, types of laboratories that can apply for accreditation include those operated by federal agencies, states, and localities; privately-owned labs; and foreign laboratories, to name a few. These labs will be responsible for controlling, establishing, and maintaining records of food testing activities while under the program.
If the FDA considers any of the reports, tests, documents, analyses, or other aspects of food testing to not be in compliance, the lab must respond in writing how they’ve made corrections or created a plan of action to address the deficiencies.
What FSMA Compliance Means for Labs
Moving forward, any lab that wants to be an accredited partner will need to apply to participate in the certification process. The requirements that the accredited labs must meet to be in compliance are as follows:
Any accredited laboratory must comply with most aspects of ISO/IEC 17025:2017, “General Requirements for the Competence of Testing and Calibration Laboratories,” Third Edition, November 2017. This includes demonstrating the capabilities of conducting thorough food testing of each method for every accreditation the laboratory seeks.
Labs are to follow appropriate procedures and certify all reports and analysis to be accurate and true. This includes establishing and maintaining internal quality systems, responding to complaints, and assigning qualified individuals to conduct analyses.
Additionally, requirements for recognized accreditation bodies is that they are signatories of the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation Mutual Recognition Agreement (ILAC-MRA). They must agree to maintain conformity with ISO/IEC 17011:2017 “Conformity Assessment—Requirements for Accreditation Bodies Accrediting Conformity Assessment Bodies,” Second edition, November 2017.
The final ruling will be set to go into effect 60 days post-publication in the Federal Registrar, and public comments will be collected through March 3, 2020.
The Barrow-Agee Laboratories Plan
Barrow-Agee Laboratories holds numerous accreditations, approvals, certifications, and registrations from various state, national, and industry organizations. Our intention will be to apply for and obtain the additional certification from the FDA to meet the new FSMA compliance standards.
Our team members are continuously working on improving the speed and internal operations of customer service. In addition to keeping up with industry trends and news, we regularly attend both local and national trade shows and maintain an open line of communication between our organization and our customers to gather any feedback.
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