Food industry employees have been using the whistleblower protections provided under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) ever since it was signed into law, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA reports that it has received 144 whistleblower complaints under FSMA, beginning with 17 in 2011. FSMA’s Section 402, which provides whistleblower protection to food industry employees, did not get much attention until last year when final rules were enacted to prohibit employers from punishing employees who adhere to the food safety laws. The 2011 complaints were followed by 22 in 2012 and 54 in 2013. Last year, as many employment and labor law firms began notifying their clients about FSMA’s new whistleblower protections, an additional 51 cases were filed. In 2014, FSMA whistleblower filings accounted for about 1.6 percent of the 3,060 federal whistleblower complaints that were made last year. In addition to FSMA, federal whistleblower laws cover private employees in a wide variety of industries — everything from gas pipeline workers to those at nuclear plants. Jon Costa, fired from Aramark for reporting food safety violations to state and local environment health authorities in the Kansas City area, filed one of those 41 FSMA whistleblower complaints late last year. Formerly Aramark’s district food safety manager for professional sports stadiums in Kansas City, Costa filed a FSMA whistleblower complaint with OSHA that depicts the national stadium food vendor as lacking interest in food safety. OSHA reports that 110 of the first 144 FSMA whistleblower complaints have been “settled,” but it’s unclear how many of those might have also been withdrawn or dismissed.