Accurate documentation and record-keeping are essential for demonstrating compliance with FSMA Section 204 and an important best practice. Several sources say retailers need to establish robust systems for recording information related to food safety procedures, including receiving, storage, handling and transportation. This documentation should be organized, easily accessible, and maintained regularly.

Implementing digital record-keeping systems can streamline this process, allowing for efficient tracking and retrieval of information in the event of an audit or inspection.

Standards are also a critical best practice for traceability in general and Section 204 compliance specifically. GS1 US, the global data standards organization, recently published a guideline to help the food industry leverage its standards to help address Section 204.

Called “Application of GS1 System of Standards to Support FSMA 204,” the document was created by industry members of the GS1 US Foodservice and Retail Grocery Working Groups to define best practices for product and location identification, structured product descriptions and the recording of common industry-defined events to support the additional traceability requirements.

 “Through our collaboration with many stakeholders, technology providers and associations, industry now has guidance that will help them extend their investment in GS1 Standards and also support data requirements for this new Final Rule,” said Angela Fernandez, vice president of community engagement, GS1 US. Conducting thorough risk assessments and implementing preventive controls are key best practices for FSMA compliance. Fresh food retailers must proactively identify potential hazards in their operations and develop strategies to mitigate these risks. This may involve implementing HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) plans, conducting hazard analysis and establishing preventive control measures to prevent, eliminate or reduce identified hazards. Regular risk assessments should be conducted to adapt to changing conditions and emerging threats.

This article is an excerpt from the April 2024 issue of Supermarket Perimeter. You can read the entire FSMA 204 Best Practices feature and more in the digital edition here.