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Food Safety Modernization Act

The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is the most sweeping reform of our food safety laws in more than 70 years. It was passed by Congress in 2010 and signed into law by President Obama on January 4, 2011. FSMA changes many aspects of how food is regulated, by aiming to ensure the safety of the U.S. food supply through a focus on prevention, rather than responding after a food safety event has occurred.

Coronavirus/COVID-19 Resources for the Food Safety Community

Are FDA/FSMA- related inspections affected? or 3rd party audits needed to comply with fda food safety rules?

Yes. FDA has announced that companies (FSVP importers or “receiving facilities” as defined in the Preventive Controls Rule) will not be penalized if they are unable to conduct 3rd party audits in support of their supply chain control/ FSVP programs due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Additionally, FDA is temporarily suspending most foreign facility inspections, and many domestic inspections, unless they are mission critical (e.g., related to an outbreak or Class 1 recall). Further, inspections may be pre-announced.  The agency is also considering alternative ways to perform inspections.

Can Fresh Produce transmit the COVID-19 Virus? 

There is no evidence that fresh produce (or any other food, or other product/material) can transmit the virus. FDA directly addresses food safety concerns at the bottom of  their FAQ page here. And FDA recently issued guidance dedicated to COVID-19 food safety concerns.

How long does the virus last on a surface? And how can my company decontaminate a surface that an infected worker may have touched? Would affected food need to be recalled?

WHO answers the question of persistence by saying “Studies suggest that coronaviruses (including preliminary information on the COVID-19 virus) may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. This may vary under different conditions (e.g. type of surface, temperature or humidity of the environment).”

FDA guidance reinforces that this is a respiratory virus, not foodborne disease, and that ill workers do not necessitate a food recall.

In these unprecedented times, we’ve created an aggregate of coronavirus/COVID-19 resources to help the fresh produce industry and supply chain partners address commonly asked questions, and resources that can help keep you and your business informed.


Today, seven final FSMA rules are in varying stages of implementation and the fresh produce industry continues to move forward with education, training and compliance to the various regulations to which they are subject.

The produce industry is most affected by:

United Fresh FSMA Executive Overview
United Fresh FSMA Issues Brief

For more information about FSMA or to report broken links, contact United Fresh Senior Vice President of Food Safety and Technology, Dr. Jennifer McEntire at 202.303.3419.

Archived Information (Proposed Rules + Comments)

United Fresh has been at the forefront of the efforts to modernize our food safety system and launched a thorough and deliberative industry review of the proposals to help shape future final regulations to enhance produce safety in ways that reflect the diversity and efficiency of our produce industry.

The review of the proposed rules involved the expertise of food safety experts and industry stakeholders from across the country to ensure they are implemented in a scientific, effective and practical way. United Fresh organized working groups for each of the proposed and supplementary proposed rules which conducted a deliberative process to review thousands of pages of the regulations.

Each of these panels performed a series of meetings and conference calls to conduct a thorough analysis of the proposed FDA rules. The working groups were comprised of United Fresh volunteer leaders, representing a broad spectrum and expertise of the produce industry. Members serving on our Food Safety Council, Government Relations Council, and other volunteer leadership groups also served on these working groups.

Our goal was to ensure that we received thorough and broad industry input in order to fully understand and advocate for our members a rule that is fair, balanced, and represents the intent and the principles that we strove for in development of the Food Safety Modernization Act.