‘No nationwide shortages of food,’ FDA says

Agency eases FSMA supplier audit rules to avoid disrupting food supply chain during coronavirus crisis


Russell Redman, Supermarket News 

Mar 18, 2020


The Food and Drug Administration said the United States isn’t experiencing any widespread food shortages amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) health emergency.


Also, to avoid potential disruptions in the food supply chain, the agency reported it will relax some requirements for Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) supplier verification on-site audits.


The FDA said late Tuesday that it’s working closely with grocery industry and federal and state partners to monitor the food supply chain for any shortages.


“We are in regular contact with food manufacturers and grocery stores. There are no nationwide shortages of food, although in some cases the inventory of certain foods at your grocery store might be temporarily low before stores can restock,” the FDA stated. “Food production and manufacturing are widely dispersed throughout the U.S., and there are currently no widespread disruptions reported in the supply chain.”


Amid continued reports of shoppers emptying shelves of supermarkets and other stores to stock up on food, health care and other supplies, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn assured consumers that these items will be available and they don’t need to hoard.


“While we are confident that stores will remain open and supply will continue to meet demand nationwide, we ask all Americans to only purchase enough food and essentials for the week ahead,” Hahn said in a statement.


To keep the supply chain running, the FDA said yesterday it won’t enforce the FSMA on-site audit requirements if other appropriate supplier verification methods are used. Other methods, such as sampling and testing or a review of food safety records, would provide sufficient assurance that hazards have been significantly minimized or prevented during the on-site audit delay, the agency said...