In November 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released its final rule on the traceability of high-risk foods, known as Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Section 204. The final rule aims to facilitate efficient recalls during a foodborne illness outbreak by requiring a more standardized approach to capturing and sharing product identification and movement data throughout the food chain. This data will allow for quicker and more accurate tracking of potentially harmful foods, minimizing the impact of foodborne illness and limiting product loss.
As supply chain partners grapple with how the traceability final rule will impact their operations and what they must do to meet regulatory compliance, IFT’s Global Food Traceability Center (GFTC) has stepped in to help. The Center has released eleven new commodity-specific educational videos covering key sections of the final rule for foods on the FDA’s Food Traceability List—from fresh-cut leafy greens and fruits to specific cheeses and shell eggs. The industry has a three-year implementation period before the effective compliance date of January 20, 2026. And while three years may seem far away, much work is needed to get there.
“This rule will demand a tremendous investment of resources, time, and money in order for entities to become compliant,” said Tracy Fink, IFT’s director of scientific programs and science and policy initiatives. “Companies cannot wait—they need to act now. These videos provide a critical stepping stone to begin their journey toward implementation.”
Anyone who manufactures, processes, packs, or holds foods on the FDA’s Food Traceability List is responsible for complying with the traceability final rule. These entities must determine what data needs to be collected and when it needs to be collected, as well as which supply chain activities apply to them.
“The overall goal is to enhance our food supply chain to have rapid removal of compromised products in the event of a recall or foodborne illness outbreak and to trace back contaminated foods to their root source,” Fink added. “The final rule will compel the industry to quickly track products at every step along the supply chain, optimize the food safety response, and ultimately protect consumers.”
View IFT’s commodity-specific food traceability videos to learn more about the FDA’s new rule and steps to take to achieve compliance.
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A conversation with IFT's senior food safety and traceability scientist Sara Bratager