Food Safety / Processing

Survey says: Process manufacturers still confused about FSMA

Many respondents have not budgeted for FSMA-required upgrades, and about half are unsure how the regulations will affect them.

Survey says: Process manufacturers still confused about FSMA

More than two years after President Obama signed the Food Safety Modernization Act into law, survey data shows most process manufacturers are still uncertain how stricter regulations will affect their industry. The study shows that while most processors are aware changes are coming, they aren’t sure when or what will be different.

While 71 percent of respondents to the survey by iRely agree new FSMA regulations would affect their business, the most common answer when asked which requirement would affect them the most was “unsure” at 47 percent. Similarly, 44 percent cite “uncertain or unclear implementation” as their biggest concern about FSMA.

Many companies also appear not to have made plans to update equipment, technology or resources to meet FSMA requirements. While FDA estimates new regulations will cost the average factory around $13,000, 45 percent of survey respondents say expected changes have not affected their ability to plan or budget for the upcoming year.

In fact, 76 percent of those surveyed say they were not planning to increase staff or resources to address FSMA requirements. iRely cites increased mock recalls required under FSMA as an example of a component of the new law that will almost undoubtedly require additional resources. It says FDA’s new ability to levy fines, mandate recalls and suspend companies’ registration should have manufacturers on edge, but few have swapped in adaptable manufacturing systems or other FSMA-approved equipment.

Current technology could be another factor holding back implementation of FSMA regulations. According to researchers, many companies still use basic ERP software or even manually updated spreadsheets to track the production process, despite FSMA’s requirement that electronic records systems are updated. While 76 percent of respondents say they utilize a quality control management system, nearly 45 percent admit they use spreadsheets or other manual entry systems.

Of course, the fines resulting from a failure to comply with FSMA rules could easily pay for upgrades in plant ERP and tracking platforms, but 76 percent of respondents say they plan no ERP changes because their system is already compliant. FDA disputes that, saying most processors will have to make improvements to be FSMA compliant.

The survey suggests one final reason many processors haven’t yet begun to prepare for FSMA implementation: They believe the rules will never be enforced due to lack of resources. However, those companies should consider the fact that the Congressional Budget Office has budgeted $280 million per year for FSMA enforcement. Producers should consider making FSMA compliance a priority now, before late implementation means fines and possible loss of throughput.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Food Engineering Magazine.

Recent Articles by Shane O'Halloran

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



Image Galleries

Food Engineering's Food Automation & Manufacturing Conference and Expo 2015

Images from Food Engineering's Food Automation & Manufacturing Conference and Expo in Clearwater Beach, Florida, April 12-15, 2015. The event brought food and beverage processors and suppliers together to gain valuable information on the latest trends and technologies in manufacturing, automation, sustainability and food safety.


Burns & McDonnell project manager RJ Hope and senior project engineer Justin Hamilton discuss the distinctions between Food Safety and Food Defense as well as the implications for food manufacturers of the Food Safety Modernization Act.
More Podcasts

Food Engineering

Food Engineering May 2015 Cover

2015 May

The May 2015 issue of Food Engineering explores effective tools for hitting manufacturing targets. Also, read how processors are looking for faster ways to detect harmful pathogens in food and beverages without sacrificing accuracy or reliability.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Plant Facility/Site Issues

What issue about your current plant facility/site keeps you up the most at night?
View Results Poll Archive


Food Authentication Using Bioorganic Molecules

This text provides critical tools and data needed to augment routine food analysis and enhance food safety by aiding in the detection of counterfeit, and potentially deleterious, foods.

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.


FE recent tweets

facebook_40.pngtwitter_40px.pngyoutube_40px.png linkedin_40px.pngGoogle +

Food Master

Food Engineering Food Master 2015Food Master 2015 is now available!

Where the buying process begins in the food and beverage manufacturing market. 

Visit to learn more.