Food Safety / Operations

FDA’s proposed food processors rule troubles some, confuses many

The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) new proposed rule for food-processing facilities is creating a stir. The HARPC, an acronym that stands for Hazard Analysis and Risk-based Preventive Controls, was mandated by the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), signed into law in 2011. HARPC embraces a strategy that focuses on preventing foodborne illness and other risks that make food unsafe to eat. As such, it would apply to certain unintentional hazards such as microbiological, chemical, physical and radiological hazards, as well as to allergens.

Estimates from the FDA state that 951,000 million cases of foodborne illnesses can be attributed each year to the pathogens that this rule is designed to eliminate or reduce. The economic cost of illnesses avoided comes to $2 billion a year, according to the FDA. The agency regulates approximately 80% of the U.S. food supply—$602 billion in domestic food and $64 billion in imported food each year. That accounts for nearly everything consumers in the U.S. eat except for meat, poultry and some egg products, which are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

While HARPC meshes with the FDA’s proposed produce rule, which focuses primarily on preventive controls on the farm, it puts the spotlight on what’s happening in food-processing facilities. Mostly, HARPC would apply to facilities that manufacture, process, pack or hold human food. These facilities would include manufacturers, processors, warehouses, storage tanks and grain elevators, although there are some exceptions. The bottom line is that HARPC would apply to facilities required to register with the FDA under its current food-facility registration regulations, which went into effect under the 2002 Bioterrorism Act.

When looking at the numbers, the proposed rule would cover an estimated 97,600 domestic and 109,200 foreign facilities (according to the FDA, in 2011 about 50% of the fresh fruit consumed in the U.S. was imported.).

Not surprisingly, there’s a lot of confusion, and even alarm, about the activities conducted by a farm that might cause it to fall under the FDA’s definition of a processing facility.

According to detailed yet straightforward information about who would be affected by HARPC supplied by the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, the key distinction between a farm and a facility “seems to be whether you are transforming a product in any way.”

For example, farms that grow and harvest their own food crops are exempt from the facility registration rule. But if the farm purchases product from another farm to sell at its own retail operation and/or through wholesale transactions, it’s then considered a facility, and therefore is required to register with the FDA as a processing facility. And if a farm doesn’t grow a crop but sells it, HARPC also applies. Likewise, if a farm is growing fruits and vegetables and then doing anything beyond standard practices to prepare that fruit or vegetable to sell it as a whole product, HARPC would kick in. Drying, baking, cutting and mixing products all trigger HARPC.

Source: www.foodsafetynews.com

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery Magazine 

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

James Skinner Baking

An inside look at James Skinner Baking, a modern artisan bakery famous for its Danish.

12/4/14 2:00 pm EST

How a DSD Solution with Sales Forecasting can reduce your Stale Percentages up to 50%

Expert presenters will address how you can improve your order accuracy and account service times and how sales forecasting DSD solutions can reduce your stale percentages.

Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery Magazine

sfwb jan 2015

2015 January

January's Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery publication features our cover report: "The classic appeal of Golden Boy" Plus Much More!

Table Of Contents Subscribe

New Year's Resolution Poll

Most people make at least one food-related New Year’s resolution each year. Which of the following do you resolve to tackle in 2015?
View Results Poll Archive

THE SNACK AND BAKERY STORE

organic-production-&-food-q.gif
Organic Production and Food Quality: A Down to Earth Analysis

Effects of Organic Production on Food Quality is the first comprehensive book on how organic production methods influence the safety and quality of foods, based on an unbiased assessment of the latest scientific findings.  The title is a 'must-have' for everyone working within the food industry.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

STAY CONNECTED

Facebook IconTwitter IconYoutube IconLinkedIn Icon

The Weekly Mix

Operations Weekly Logo

Written by Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery editors, our Operations Weekly weekly enewsletter provides bakers and snack food manufacturers with up-to-the-minute news, ideas and industry trends.

Sign up today!