Small food producers asked to comply with new food safety rules - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Small food producers asked to comply with new food safety rules

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YAKIMA, WA - Starting in September, small food producers will need to comply to new federal food safety rules as part of FSMA, the Food Safety Modernization Act.

"The overall arching aspects of the new regulation is that it is a preventative controls rather then a reactive issue," said Craig Doan, Food Safety Specialist for Impact Washington.

Today, food business owners gathered at technical institute YV Tech in Yakima to learn about FSMA and food safety. The act includes seven rules: preventative controls for human food, preventative controls for animal food, produce safety rule, foreign supplier verification programs, accreditation of third-party auditors/certification bodies, sanitary transportation of human and animal food, and prevention of initial contamination/adulteration.

Large businesses already have to obey these. This fall, small food producers who have less than 500 employees will need to comply.

"The small and very small businesses, some of them are going to struggle with compliance," Doan said. "They don't necessarily have a full-time dedicated food safety person."

While compliance isn't costly, it is time consuming. Businesses need to be trained, certified, and even write their own food safety plan.

"The compliance is mandatory; the FDA has new authorities at their disposal unannounced inspections, for example," said Doan. 

Food safety specialists highly recommend that small businesses start working on completing this process immediately, if they haven't already.