Tuesday, March 5, 2013
The Sequestration and the Food Safety Modernization Act
Under the sequester, the government last week implemented across-the-board budget cuts that will affect multiple government agencies. As an attempt to reign in the federal budget, the sequestration plan proposes cuts that could further stymie important legislation such as the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stated publicly that it will need increased resources in order to effectively enforce the new regulations and preventative controls, but under the sequestration plan the FDA will lose approximately $65 million in funding.
Before companies start to relax at the thought of less inspections or a slower implementation of FSMA, it is important to remember that supply chain problems will still exist. And, as the horsemeat scandal in Europe shows, the effects of a tainted supply chain on a brand can be devastating. Closer to home, in 2012, a single safety issue at a food processing plant in the U.S. led to 165 recalls. This plant processes foods for well-known brands and white-label products for grocery stores, and this single safety issue had a widespread negative impact on the safety of several companies’ food products. As the ExpertRECALL Quarterly Recall Index reported, there were an average of six food recalls announced each day in the U.S. during the fourth quarter of 2012.
So despite the potential budget impact of the sequestration cuts. concerns in the supply chain and the potential for consumer outrage will mean that manufacturers and marketers will continue to pay critical attention to product recalls in order to protect their brand.