Regulations Implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act

24 Pages Posted: 7 Jun 2018 Last revised: 21 Apr 2021

See all articles by Richard A. Williams

Richard A. Williams

George Mason University - Mercatus Center

Date Written: August 18, 2015


The FDA has been charged by the 2010 Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) with improving food safety in the United States. The four large regulations analyzed in this paper do not appear able to accomplish that mission. Part of the reason for this failure is that Congress has narrowly prescribed some of the reforms that must be in these regulations. In addition to those requirements, however, the FDA is proposing even more expansionist regulations. There are two problems with these regulations and the expansions proposed in the FSMA: either they do not address an actual food safety risk in the areas they cover, or, where there is a significant risk, analysis shows that they will not effectively reduce that risk. Either way, the costs of these rules exceed the benefits, in some cases by a great deal.

Keywords: food safety, benefit-cost analysis, Food Safety Modernization Act, FDA, risk assessment, HACCP, regulations

JEL Classification: I1, D8, D6

Suggested Citation

Williams, Richard A, Regulations Implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act (August 18, 2015). Mercatus Working Paper Series, Available at SSRN: or

Richard A Williams (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Mercatus Center ( email )

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