FSMA Update: FDA Releases New Information Related to Food Facility Registration

The FDA recently published information answering three frequently asked questions:

QUESTION:  What form do I use to renew a food facility registration?

ANSWER:  FDA Form 3537.

Registrants must use Form 3537 to register, update, or renew a registration. Form 3537 is being updated to meet registration renewal needs. The next registration renewal cycle begins October 1, 2012. Facilities may register online via the Internet at http://www.fda.gov/furls, which operates during business hours from 7:00 am to 11:00 pm U.S. Eastern Standard Time.

QUESTION: Am I required to renew a food facility registration online? 

ANSWER:  No!  Registrants can renew food facility registrations online or submit the paper Form 3537 by mail or fax. A business with multiple facilities may also register on a CD-ROM by mail. FDA encourages online registration as the least costly, quickest, and most efficient means for food facility registration. With online registration, a food facility must enter all of the required information before the system will accept the submission. After all required information has been entered, a registrant will receive confirmation of registration and a registration number. Paper registration is a more costly and less efficient process to supply FDA with registration information and to provide food facilities with their registration numbers. Further, paper registration may have a higher number of errors or omissions on the form, which may require additional time to complete the registration process.

QUESTION: Why wait until October 1, 2012 to start the registration renewal process? 

ANSWER:  Because you will be required to do it again between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, 2012.   The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) mandates that all food facilities that are required to register must renew their registrations every other year during the period beginning on October 1st and ending on December 31st of each even-numbered year. The first registration renewal cycle will occur from October 1 to December 31, 2012.

As always, more information may be found at: Food Safety Modernization Act – FAQ Page

Please keep in mind that the FDA does not provide answers to questions of registration strategy, information disclosure and impact of registration choices on frequency of inspections and the classification of a food facility as high risk or non-high risk.  These are ALL very important issues that need to be addressed.

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