Whistleblower Provisions in Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) – Overview and Summary

  • By: Staff Editor
  • Date: October 07, 2011
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The Food Safety Modernization Act or FSMA was enacted into law in January 2011 by President Barack Obama. The Act aims to ensure the safety of the food supply chain by formulating and enforcing regulations that prevent contamination.

The Act also includes whistleblower provisions to protect employees from employer retaliation when they turn whistleblower. The whistleblower provisions of the Act are enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Employee protections in FSMA
The employee protections regulations in the Act apply to any company that is involved in any of the following activities:
  • Manufacturing
  • Processing
  • Packing
  • Transporting
  • Distribution
  • Reception
  • Holding or
  • Importation of food
According to the Act, such a company cannot discharge an employee who turns whistleblower. The company cannot also discriminate against a whistleblower with respect to:
  • Compensation
  • Terms
  • Conditions or
  • Privileges of employment
Want to gain a better understanding of the food safety regulations? Then attend any of the following ComplianceOnline webinars:
The FSMA defines a whistleblower as an employee who:
  • Provides or is about to provide information about FSMA or related regulatory violations to his or her employer, the federal government or the attorney general of state
  • Testifies or is about to testify in proceedings concerning such violations
  • Assists or participates or is about to assist or participate in such proceedings
  • Objects to or refuses to participate in any activity, policy, practice or assigned task that the employee believes to be a violation of the FSMA or any related regulations
How to file discrimination complaints
Any employee who feels he or she has been retaliated against for turning whistleblower must file a complaint with the Secretary of Labor within 180 days of the violation occurring.
According to the FSMA, if an employer is found to have retaliated against a whistleblower, the company will have to pay the complainant “…a sum equal to the aggregate amount of all costs and expenses (including attorneys' and expert witness fees) reasonably incurred, as determined by the Secretary…”
Additional Resources
­Read the whistleblower provisions in the Food Safety and Modernization Act in full


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