March 27, 2014

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has taken the next steps to ensure compliance with the 2010 amendments to Section 402 of the Food Safety Modernization Act ("FSMA"), which contain a robust set of whistleblower provisions that protect employees working in the food industry. The OSHA interim final rule establishes the manner for handling retaliation complaints as part of the FSMA, including, among other things, procedures and time frames for employee complaints to OSHA; appeals of OSHA's written findings; and judicial review of the Secretary of Labor's ("Secretary") final decision. Because of the broad definitions contained in both the statute and the interim rule, all entities engaged in manufacturing, processing, packing, transporting, distributing, receiving, holding, or importing of food should be cognizant of the provisions of the rule, and ensure that they educate employees about the provisions of the Act and train appropriate individuals as to how to handle any comments that may constitute "whistleblowing" under the Act.

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