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FDA Creates Alliance to Help Industry With New FSMA Rules

With the U.S. Food and Drug Administration expected to issue proposed rules for food facilities in early 2012, the agency is working with the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Institute for Food Safety and Health (IIT IFSH) to launch the Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance (FSPCA).

The aim of the FSPCA is to develop training courses and materials on preventing contamination for both human and animal food during production. The materials to be developed by the alliance will help industry — particularly small- and medium-size companies — comply with the new preventive control rules, according to FDA in a recent Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) update.

The alliance is comprised of FDA officials, local and state food protection agencies, food industry representatives, and academia. FSPCA is funded by a one-year, $1 million grant to the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Institute for Food Safety and Health (IIT IFSH).

Under FSMA, food facilities are required to develop food safety plans that identify hazards and take steps to mitigate risks and prevent contamination. To assist the industry in meeting these new requirements, the alliance will, among other things, develop standardized hazard analysis and preventive controls training, design and deliver a state-of-the-art distance learning training program, develop “train-the-trainer” materials, and create a technical assistance network for small- and medium-sized food companies.

According to FDA, the alliance is modeled on previous alliances for seafood and fresh produce developed by the FDA and groups representing academia, industry and government, like the Seafood HACCP Alliance was created in 1994, and the Produce Safety Alliance in 2010.

The organizing committee selected members of the steering committee for the alliance at meetings in December in Washington, D.C.

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