This month the National Automatic Merchandising Association began notifying vending operators that they are required to complete their food facility registration. This announcement came about as the NAMA sought clarification on this issue from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Here’s what this announcement means for you as a snack vending machine operator or vending machine manufacturer:
What is the Food Facility Registration?
After the Bioterrorism Act of 2002, the FDA was ordered to create a process to protect the U.S. from terrorist acts on its food supply. The FDA responded by creating the food facility registration.
The food facility registration achieves its purpose by tracking any food facility that packs, processes, holds, or manufactures food for purposes of consumption. Registration gives the FDA information about each facility, and authorizes them to perform timely inspections of each facility. If any facility is found to be at risk to contaminate or otherwise threaten the food supply, the FDA has the authority to suspend the facility.
Does This Apply to Me?
The FDA requires that anybody who manufactures, processes, packs, or holds food for either animal or human consumption registers their facility. This includes agents, operators, and owners. After the FDA’s clarification, this includes snack vending machine and drink vending machine operators, as well.
How Do I Comply?
In order to comply, all you need to do is complete your registration by the December 31st deadline. You may do so at the FDA’s website here. If you do not wish to complete the registration online, you may request Form 3537 and mail it to the FDA.
You will need to provide basic information about your facility, your company, and the type of activities performed at the site.
Each registration needs to be renewed once every two years, and any updates (such as change of address or ownership) need to be reported within 60 days.
What Does Compliance Mean to Me?
Complying with the FDA’s food facility registration requirements shouldn’t have much of an effect on your business. Registration is free and painless, and will only need to be renewed every other year. There are only two possible side-effects to registering, both are quite minor:
- If your business imports food for your vending machines (unlikely, but possible), you will need to give the FDA advance notice of each shipment.
- The FDA is authorized to perform inspections of any registered facilities, and suspend them if they are engaged in activities that could endanger the food supply.
Now you know everything you need to about food facility registration! Make sure to register by the December 31st deadline, and make sure to keep visiting our blog for all the latest news for vending machine operators!