Earlier this week, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued revised food safety standards known as the “Manufactured Food Regulatory Program Standards” (MFRPS). The standards are designed to be used by state regulators to oversee food facilities that manufacture, process, pack, or hold foods. When fully implemented, the MFRPS standards are intended to constitute a set of best food safety practices to help improve food safety programs nationwide. The revised standards include newly defined terms, new sections and appendices, and revisions to certain standards. A Summary of Changes to the standards can be found here.
The Food Safety Modernization Act provided a mandate for FDA to establish an Integrated Food Safety Program requiring the establishment of a partnership between federal, state, and local regulators to ensure the protection of public health. Over the past decade, FDA has worked to develop and implement the MFRPS standards, which are viewed as critical components in establishing FDA’s IFSS program. States that enroll in FDA’s MFRPS program are expected to implement strategic plans to ensure continuous improvement and movement toward full program compliance. Further, state programs receiving funds under an existing Cooperative Agreement to help states implement the standards are expected to achieve significant to full conformance by year five of the CA. Entities eligible to receive funding under the CA include state manufactured food regulatory programs with current FDA food safety inspection contracts or those that agree to enter into a food contract with FDA. 43 states are currently enrolled in the MFRPS program.
FDA intends the MFRPS standards be used to help establish requirements for the critical elements of a food safety regulatory program designed to protect the public from foodborne illness and injury. The ten MFRPS standards address the following regulatory areas:
- Standard 1 - Regulatory Foundation
- Standard 2 - Training Program
- Standard 3 - Inspection Program
- Standard 4 - Inspection Audit Program
- Standard 5 - Food-related Illness and Outbreaks and Response
- Standard 6 – Compliance/Enforcement
- Standard 7 – Industry/Community Relations
- Standard 8 - Program Resources
- Standard 9 - Program Assessment
- Standard 10 - Laboratory Services
Industry stakeholders should review the updated MFRPS to understand and appreciate how federal and state authorities are directing their regulatory activities toward reducing foodborne illness hazards in plants that manufacture, process, pack, or hold foods.