The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced the publication of draft guidance to assist qualified facilities in complying with the Preventive Controls for Human Food Rule or the Preventive Controls for Animal Food Rule under the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).This draft guidance is especially crucial for very small businesses.

A business that meets the definition of a “qualified facility” is subject to modified requirements of the preventive controls rules. These modified requirements can be met by submitting a form to FDA, attesting to the business’s status as a qualified facility and attesting that the facility is implementing preventive controls to address hazards associated with its food or is in compliance with non-Federal food safety laws and regulations. This draft guidance, “Qualified Facility Attestation Using Form FDA 3942a (for Human Food) or Form FDA 3942b (for Animal Food) ” explains how to determine whether a business meets the definition of “qualified facility” and how to submit the FDA form attesting to its status as a qualified facility.

The deadline for compliance with the preventive controls for human food rule, which ranges from 1–3 years, depends on the size of the food business. Large companies must comply within 1 year of the final rule’s publication. Medium and small-sized companies have 2 and 3 years, respectively, in which to comply.

The draft guidance will be available for public comment for 180 days starting Monday May 16, 2016. The FDA will consider all comments before completing a final version.

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