The FSMA builds on efforts to modernize the U.S. food safety system that began in the early 1980s. This modernization movement emphasizes the efficient use of both public and private resources as reflected in a shift from inspection and outbreak response to prevention and the use of flexible, risk-based management practices.

Key elements in the FSMA include:

  • Requirements for food processors to analyze food safety hazards and implement risk-based preventive controls;
  • Mandatory FDA recall authority with greater public outreach;
  • Enhanced traceability systems for food products;
  • Improved disease surveillance and use of science-based risk assessments to target FDA activities;
  • Onfarm safety standards for produce; and
  • Redesign of FDA’s import safety control system by coupling third-party certification and private-sector verification with FDA inspection of foreign food facilities.

ERS research has examined a broad range of food industry and consumer behavior issues related to food safety. This article focuses on the first four key elements. This research can help inform FDA’s implementation of the FSMA.