Culinaria Issue 5

Culinaria Issue 5: Practitioners Guide To Importing Food Under The Food Safety Modernization Act


The Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011 (“FSMA”) is a sweeping overhaul of United States food safety law designed to better protect consumers from foodborne illnesses.  Congress passed FSMA in response to heightened food safety risks, surging imports and an outdated food import safety system, providing the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) additional authority to regulate food facilities, establish standards for safe produce, recall contaminated foods and oversee imported foods.  Several of the final rules implementing FSMA were published in 2015 and are scheduled to take effect soon thereafter, making this a pivotal year for food processors and importers to design and implement new methodologies for ensuring food safety.  Many of the requirements of the law vary in scope depending on the business’s total sales or the size of the company, so it will be crucial for businesses and their attorneys to carefully understand the law and its penalties for noncompliance. 

This purpose of this article is to guide businesses and practitioners through the major provisions of FSMA applicable to food imports. 

About the Author

S. Patrick Morin, Jr. is a seasoned business attorney and founder of Morsel Law. Pat’s practice is focused on representing food, beverage and hospitality businesses in a variety of commercial transactions, including regulatory compliance (TTB, FDA, USDA and FTC), commercial real estate (REITs, acquisition, disposition, leasing, tax credits, development and financing), finance, commercial transactions (licenses, contracts and agreements), intellectual property protection, and business entity structuring and governance matters. Pat works side by side with entrepreneurs, startups and small and mid-size companies alike as a strategic business partner and counsel.

Prior to founding Morsel Law, Pat practiced in the transactional and commercial groups at several national law firms, including Sullivan & Worcester LLP in Boston, Bass, Berry & Sims PLC in Nashville and Dickinson Wright PLLC in Detroit. Before attending law school, Pat served as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps and is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.