Skip to main content

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is the most sweeping reform of U.S. food safety laws in over 70 years. Signed into law on January 4, 2011, FSMA seeks to shift the focus from responding to contamination in the food supply chain to preventing it.

The major elements of FSMA can be divided into five key areas:

Preventive Controls

For the first time, FDA has a legislative mandate to require comprehensive, prevention-based controls across the food supply.

Inspection and Compliance

The legislation recognizes that inspection is an important means of holding industry accountable for its responsibility to produce safe food; thus, the law specifies how often FDA should inspect food producers. FDA is committed to applying its inspection resources in a risk-based manner and adopting innovative inspection approaches.

Imported Food Safety

FDA has new tools to ensure that those imported foods meet US standards and are safe for our consumers. For example, for the first time, importers must verify that their foreign suppliers have adequate preventive controls in place to ensure safety, and FDA will be able to accredit qualified third party auditors to certify that foreign food facilities are complying with U.S. food safety standards.


For the first time, FDA will have mandatory recall authority for all food products. FDA expects that it will only need to invoke this authority infrequently since the food industry largely honors our requests for voluntary recalls.

Enhanced Partnerships

The legislation recognizes the importance of strengthening existing collaboration among all food safety agencies—U.S. federal, state, local, territorial, tribal and foreign–to achieve our public health goals. For example, it directs FDA to improve training of state, local, territorial and tribal food safety officials.

Learn more by visiting the FSMA page on the FDA website.

Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration