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Data Loggers and FSMA: How to Stay Compliant

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A Marathon Products EDL Temperature Data Logger.Marathon Products’ EDL Temperature Data Logger gives you an edge by providing valuable FSMA compliance data whenever you need it.

Key Takeaways:

  • Approximately 48 million Americans (16.7% of the U.S. population) suffer from foodborne illnesses every year
  • The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) strengthens the food safety system and prevents the occurrence of foodborne disease
  • The Act comprises seven major rules producers must follow
  • Producers who aren’t FMSA-compliant risk severe repercussions, such as product recalls, fines, lawsuits, suspension of registration, and plant shutdown
  • Marathon Products’ EDL Temperature Data Logger provides accurate, reliable data for FSMA compliance

We live in an age where the global food system is constantly changing, with an array of issues and questions surfacing with each novel event. Thus, there’s a need for clear food safety guidelines to protect consumers from foodborne diseases.  

As we’ve seen from recent history, neglectful food handling practices can lead to devastating outbreaks and reputational and financial damage. 

Take the 2015 E. coli outbreak linked to Chipotle, for example. Over 35 people became severely ill, exhibiting symptoms such as bloody diarrhea and excruciating abdomen pain. The outbreak forced Chipotle to close 43 restaurants in Oregon and Washington, even though only eight had been affected. A lawsuit was also filed against Chipotle, leading to an eventual $25 million payout. Fortunately, nobody died from the incident.

But this isn’t an isolated case. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported over 20 E. coli outbreaks between 2007 and 2015. Add to this that 48 million Americans get sick from food-related diseases every year, and the need for food safety systems becomes clear. 

That’s where the FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) comes in. Read on to learn how this Act applies to food producers and how Marathon Products’ data loggers can aid FSMA compliance.

What is the FSMA?

FSMA was signed into law on January 4, 2011, by President Obama and lays out safety standards stakeholders must follow to reduce the risk of contamination and prevent the occurrence of foodborne illnesses. It applies to all food producers, including distributors, packers, processors, and manufacturers.

FSMA requires FDA-registered companies to conduct a hazard analysis and develop and implement a food safety strategy with preventive controls. Moreover, compliant companies must conduct a vulnerability assessment and create a detailed food defense plan outlining the mitigation strategies for foreseeable challenges.

Here are the seven major FSMA compliance rules you should know about:

  1. Produce safety: This rule requires covered farms to adhere to safety standards when growing, harvesting, packing, or holding vegetables and fruits. It lays out microbiological standards, such as examining grazing areas, applying raw manure, testing water quality, and more.
  2. Human food preventive controls: Food facilities must conduct a hazard assessment and establish preventive controls to mitigate threats when producing food for human consumption.
  3. Animal food preventive controls: Animal food facilities must implement a food safety plan and follow Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP) Regulations.
  4. Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP): Food importers must evaluate foreign suppliers to verify whether their products meet U.S. food safety standards.
  5. Accreditation: This rule establishes the requirements, framework, and procedures for third-party auditors and certification bodies seeking FDA accreditation. 
  6. Sanitary food transportation: All carriers, loaders, shippers, and receivers must ensure food safety and prevent food contamination through proper refrigeration and temperature-control protocols, such as using data loggers.
  7. Intentional adulteration prevention: Food facilities (both foreign and domestic) must establish a food defense plan to prevent intentional adulteration and ensure food safety. The plan should include an analysis of current vulnerabilities, monitoring procedures, mitigation strategies, and corrective actions.

In a nutshell, FSMA requires you to develop a systematic food safety system that covers proper testing, monitoring, preventive controls, corrective actions, and documentation. Reliable and high-quality data loggers, like the ones produced by Marathon Products, can help you maintain FSMA compliance and strengthen the fight against foodborne illnesses.

How data loggers give you an edge

Data loggers are highly efficient measurement tools that record humidity, temperature, pH, pressure, and other environmental parameters. They transmit data through a wireless connection and present it in tabular and graphical formats to your computer. These records are saved electronically and have time and date stamps which you can provide to regulatory agencies as proof of FSMA compliance.

Traditional monitoring techniques typically involve manually checking and documenting conditions using thermometers or strip chart recorders. They are often time-consuming and inadequate. Sometimes, they might yield inaccurate results, compromising the integrity of your food safety plans.

Electronic data loggers don’t require constant manual attention or rely on mechanical parts. This makes them extremely accurate tools for collecting and recording data, even in harsh environments and over long periods. One such tool is the EDL Temperature Data Logger.

Get compliance-ready with our EDL Temperature Data Logger

The EDL Temperature Data Logger is Marathon Products’ top-of-the-range, multi-purpose instrument for recording and documenting your facility’s temperature history. It provides you with a capacity of 32,000 data points, ensuring you never run out of memory storage. Accuracy will be the last of your concerns, thanks to the EDL’s 0.1 degree Celsius temperature resolution. 

Our high-quality data logger gives you more control by enabling you to customize time intervals and view start, stop, and elapsed time. With the visual alarm feature, you can set alarm limits and get notified (through red LED lights) anytime the temperature exceeds the threshold.

When paired with Marathon Products’ Data Analysis Software (MDAS), the EDL Temperature Data Logger is the ultimate centralized monitoring tool. You can transfer data from multiple data loggers directly to your PC to view, download, or print. This enables you to have FMSA-compliant documentation at your fingertips. 

Start the conversation

FSMA compliance is inescapable for companies operating in the food industry. Rather than waiting until the FDA comes knocking at your door, you can take a proactive approach by automatically recording and documenting your facility’s temperature using Marathon Products’ EDL Temperature Data Logger or our range of reliable multi-use data loggers

With over 30 years of experience developing high-quality and accurate devices, Marathon Products gives you unwavering confidence in FSMA compliance. Start the conversation by sending us an email at or call us at 1-800-858-6872.

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