FDA Announces Findings from Voluntary Pilot Program Evaluating Third-Party Food Safety Standards

FDA Announces Findings from Voluntary Pilot Program Evaluating Third-Party Food Safety Standards

August 3, 2023 By

On July 17, 2023, the FDA announced the successful conclusion of its voluntary pilot program to evaluate the alignment of third-party food safety audit standards with relevant FDA regulations.

The pilot program, launched in October 2020, aimed to assess whether these third-party food safety audit standards aligned with the FDA’s regulations—a goal consistent with the “New Era of Smarter Food Safety Blueprint.” This blueprint outlines the FDA’s decade-long plan to create a safer and more digitally traceable food system.

Pilot Implementation Details

The pilot program evaluated third-party food safety audit standards based on two specific regulations: the Preventive Controls for Human Food and the Produce Safety rules within the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act.

The following schemas were found to align with the FDA’s standards:

  • BRC Global Standard Food Safety
  • BRC Global Standard Food Safety, Issue 9, Interpretation Guideline
  • FSSC 22000 Scheme 5.1 for Food Manufacturing
  • FSSC 22000 Version 3 FSMA PCHF Report Addendum
  • SQF Food Safety Code: Food Manufacturing, Edition 9
  • SQF Addendum for the Preventive Controls for Human Food
  • GLOBALG.A.P. Integrated Farm Assurance – All Farm Base-Crops Base – Fruit and Vegetables Checklist. Version 5.4-1-GFS
  • GLOBALG.A.P. Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Rule Add-on Module Version 1.3

The Scope and Future Directions

The FDA acknowledges current resource constraints and will not extend its evaluation to third-party food safety standards beyond the scope of this pilot program.

Using the data obtained from third-party audits, the FDA plans to determine risk prioritization and allocate resources effectively. This initiative aims to instill confidence among importers and receivers that the standards used to audit their suppliers adequately address FDA food safety requirements.

What Does This Mean for the Industry?

The FDA’s recognition of these third-party food safety audit standards opens up new possibilities for the industry. Now, businesses can use these approved standards to benchmark their facilities against the FDA’s requirements, providing an efficient and reliable way to ensure compliance.

This development is especially crucial for businesses that export their products to the US market or deal with third-party buyers like Amazon, who often require adherence to specific food safety standards. By leveraging the pre-approved third-party standards, businesses can demonstrate their commitment to food safety and regulatory compliance, thereby boosting consumer confidence in their brand.

How dicentra Can Help

As a leading expert in regulatory compliance and food safety, dicentra is well-equipped to assist businesses in meeting the FDA’s requirements. We offer third-party food safety audits that align with recognized standards, such as SQF and BRCGS certifications. Our team of experts can guide you through the audit process, providing valuable insights and recommendations to ensure your facility meets the highest food safety standards.

Take the Leap Toward Safer Food Practices

With the FDA’s seal of approval on these third-party food safety audit standards, there’s never been a better time for businesses to prioritize food safety and regulatory compliance. Embrace this opportunity to enhance your brand reputation and demonstrate your commitment to providing safe, quality food products to consumers.

To learn more about how dicentra can help your business achieve FDA compliance and elevate your food safety practices, contact us today.