In a previous blog post, I explained that the new produce safety regulations released as part of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) do not address the cause of past foodborne illness outbreaks, leaving the produce industry in limbo. It also leaves consumers unprotected because they view most produce items as being “ready-to-eat” (RTE), meaning that they are able to be consumed without any additional washing or cooking. Regardless of where a farm or packing shed falls within the regulations, this perception by consumers raises significant concerns for public health, which then fall to the grower or packer to address. Continue Reading

Supplier verification, as mandated by the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), evokes sentiments such as the Russian proverb “trust but verify” or the expression “don’t buy a pig in a poke.” Food manufacturers are now required to monitor the origins of their ingredients closer than ever before. The FSMA food supply chain program requirements expect food facilities and importers to understand the food compliance history of their suppliers. But should firms also be expected to verify the controls of their suppliers’ ingredient suppliers? Continue Reading

Questions about the safety of fresh produce are in the headlines again following recent North American outbreaks involving Salmonella in sprouts, Salmonella in papayas and E. coli O157:H7 linked to romaine lettuce. Moreover, the Produce Safety rule of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) took effect for large farms in January, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) implemented the next stage of its targeted sampling program for fresh produce and related commodities. Continue Reading

Dangerous attacks in the food industry occur frequently and are not always as high profile as you might think. Are you aware that, in recent years, many companies in the food industry have been affected by intentional attacks on the products they manufacture? The time has come for food manufacturers to ask themselves: what can be done to prevent tragedy from striking in your facility? Continue Reading

Throughout every facet of the frozen food and beverage industry, companies are navigating the new food safety landscape created by the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

Under FSMA, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has finalized seven regulations covering produce safety, safe production and transport of food, imported food and food defense.

To aid companies in determining their FSMA-readiness, AFFI has developed unique FSMA Food Safety Self-Assessment Tools that are specifically tailored to members of the food and beverage industry. Continue Reading

Currently, the first stages of FSMA are being implemented, and the FDA is beginning to inspect facilities according to the new rules. In anticipation, companies in all sectors of the food industry are adjusting their food safety plans to meet the new requirements and pass inspections. Certain segments of the food industry, such as farms growing and harvesting fresh fruits and vegetables, are adjusting to new federal regulatory oversight that they have not experienced before. In particular, the processed fruit and vegetable segments are struggling with consumers treating their products as ready-to-eat, instead of their traditional use as raw agricultural commodities. This, coupled with the fact that the new regulations do not address the cause of past outbreaks, leaves the produce industry in limbo and the consumer unprotected. Continue Reading

The Trump Administration’s Executive Orders requiring federal agencies to eliminate two regulations for every new regulation is adversely impacting the agencies responsible for food safety and nutrition. On July 20th, the federal government released the latest Unified Agenda of federal regulatory activities, which contained a new category for regulations requiring further review or consideration.

Within the Spring 2017 agenda, more than 100 regulatory measures were identified under this new category “inactive,” including significant regulations related to food labeling, organic agriculture and the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The impactful regulatory measures considered “inactive” in the food industry are detailed below: Continue Reading

Clients often ask me, “If I am certified to the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), will I be ready for the FDA to inspect my operation for compliance with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Preventive Controls Rule?” In the past, I have told many clients with certifications such as the Safe Quality Food (SQF) Code and British Retail Consortium (BRC) Standard, that because they went through the steps to become certified, they are well positioned to ensure compliance with the FSMA law requirements. However, there are similarities and differences between the two that must be taken into account. For companies that fall under the FDA regulatory jurisdiction and must become compliant with the FSMA Preventive Controls for Human Food Rule or the Animal Food Rule, taking the journey to become GFSI certified will help them meet the FSMA requirements. It will also change the working culture throughout the organization to prepare for FSMA implementation. Continue Reading