During the pandemic, FDA temporarily postponed all routine food facility inspections – both foreign and domestic. While some food facility managers may have breathed a sigh of relief that they did not have the added challenge of an FDA inspector showing up at the door, it did not mean that facilities had any less responsibility for maintaining food safety. In fact, as FDA stated, “Safety and quality need to be owned by the industry, and firms have the primary responsibility to reliably produce quality products.”
Once it is determined that inspections can be resumed, there’s no question that FDA will be facing a backlog. With the agency stating that its domestic routine surveillance facility inspections have traditionally been conducted “every few years based on a risk analysis”, facility priority is likely to be based on that risk analysis along with length of time since the last inspection.
Whether your product, or facility, is high or low risk, it is critical that you continue to focus on all aspects of food safety – from sanitation to pest management – and be prepared for a visit from FDA, whenever that may be.