FDA launches FDA-TRACK dashboard
The FDA has developed a food safety dashboard to track FSMA progress and regulation of recalls.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has established a food safety dashboard designed to track the impact of the seven foundational rules of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), measure their progress and continue to refine implementation. The dashboard is available as part of the FDA-TRACK programme, the FDA’s agency-wide performance management system.
The hope is that this will support the FDA’s goal of reducing the incidence of illness and death attributable to preventable contamination of FDA-regulated human and animal food products. The FDA has announced the availability of the initial metrics that begin to track outcomes for FSMA rules in the areas of inspections and recalls
Over time, the food safety dashboard will be populated with additional data to show more FSMA outcomes.
All FDA-regulated products imported into the US are required to meet the same laws and regulations as domestic food. The current data on inspections provide a snapshot into both domestic and foreign industry compliance with these regulations. The FDA is also measuring the effectiveness of oversight of foreign suppliers by US importers. This will be tracked through the classification of FSVP (Foreign Supplier Verification Program) inspections.
The FDA is also tracking the speed of response to problems when they do arise. One of the metrics tracked on the dashboard is how quickly a firm issues public notification for a Class 1 recall for human and animal food. The dashboard will be updated periodically with metrics for ‘Days from Recall Initiation’ to ‘Firm Press Release to the Public’.
Many factors will influence the interpretation of the data, especially in the early phases of FSMA implementation. For example:
- The preventive controls and FSVP rules featured staggered compliance dates based on business size to allow smaller businesses more time to comply
- The FDA does not inspect the same firms on a quarterly or annual basis, so these inspection results do not represent a consistent cohort of firms
- The FDA’s approach to implementing the FSMA rules has been to “educate before and while we regulate”. The FDA conducts interactive inspections that emphasise education and help bring industry into compliance, while focusing enforcement actions on food safety problems that pose a threat to public health.
Taking into account these factors, considering the changing sizes of businesses subject to these regulations as these regulations become effective, and the changing regulatory approach from educational to more regulatory, the agency expects that it will take several years to establish meaningful trends to evaluate progress toward achieving the performance goals presented on the dashboard.