As in previous years, other common food safety violations involved sanitation monitoring (188 citations); pest control (183 citations); controls for sanitary manufacturing, processing, packing, and holding (175 citations); sanitary plant maintenance (167 citations); and HACCP plan implementation (136 citations). In total, nearly 2,600 Form 483s were issued for food safety related violations last year.
U.S. importers are required to develop, maintain, and follow a foreign supplier verification plan (also called an FSVP) for each food they import, unless an exemption applies (such as for juice and seafood, which are covered by separate HACCP regulations, and certain low-acid canned foods).
While fiscal 2018 was the first full year that FSVP regulations were in effect, not all U.S. companies had been required to comply, depending on the size of their foreign suppliers (rather than the size of the U.S. firm) and the types of food products. This year (fiscal 2019, Oct. 1, 2018, through Sept. 30, 2019), more U.S. companies will come under FSVP’s purview. As such, the number of FSVP violations is likely to increase.
Furthermore, FDA’s focus last year had been on education, generally allowing companies an opportunity to come into compliance with FSVP, unless dangerous problems were uncovered. This year, FDA inspectors are more likely to issue violations than warnings. “We’ll see more FSMA enforcement in 2019 than in the past,” says David Acheson, MD, former FDA associate commissioner for foods. “FDA’s been in a mode of education, but more enforcement is likely to be coming this year.”—T.A.