Three themes of FSMA that should be on your radar.
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It’s hard to believe, but it was only January of last year that President Obama
signed the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the most sweeping reform of
food safety law in more than 70 years. What makes FSMA different from its
forerunners is its aim to ensure the food supply is safe by focusing on
preventing contamination, rather than on responding to it.
Since FSMA’s enactment, we’ve seen brand owners and original equipment
manufacturers (OEMs) try to get a handle on the implications the regulations
will have on their operations in both the short- and long-term. While many
details are still being finalized, we know one thing for sure: FSMA will bring
big changes that will affect food manufacturers and suppliers worldwide.
Following are three major themes of FSMA that should be on your radar:
In the past, occasional plant inspections and sample testing served as the
primary means to control food safety. However, this approach only provides a
snapshot of conditions during the specific inspection period. Today’s more
modern approaches, such as Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP),
provide system tools for ongoing analysis and are superior to end product
A HACCP process is designed to monitor food production on an ongoing basis and
evaluates potential hazards in a production process. The end goal is a system
designed to control or eliminate risk before a contamination issue can
2. Proactive Design
Rather than waiting for food safety mandates to be put in place, suppliers can
take proactive steps to engineer a new generation of equipment.
PMMI memberTriangle Package Machinery Co.(www.trianglepackage.com) is doing
just that. After consulting with USDA and independent 3A inspectors, the
company designed potential food safety hazards out of its machinery. The
company’s X-Series VFFS baggers utilize a stainless steel frame that is
electropolished to reduce crevices where contaminants can collect. Elimination
of aluminum components, such as film cages or film rollers further enhances
safety. Other manufacturers, such asADCO (www.adcomfg.com), are working to
design away flat surfaces where water can pool.
3. Leverage Industry Resources
While the prospect of redesigning both machinery and processes can be daunting,
manufacturers can turn to a variety of industry organizations and resources for
insight and advice. Recently, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), in
cooperation with Institute for Food Safety and Health, created the Food Safety
Preventive Controls Alliance (FSPCA) to develop training courses and materials
on preventing food contamination. Industry professionals can also turn to
private third-party auditors and accredited laboratories for counsel. This
fall’s PACK EXPO International 2012 (October 28-31 in Chicago, IL) will also be
a critical food safety resource, with features including the Food Safety Summit
Resource Center to address attendee concerns and questions about compliance.
At the end of the day, the best way to cope with the changes associated with
FSMA will be for brand owners and packaging and processing OEMs to work in
cooperation in a “seamless technical community.”
The stronger relationship will provide brand owners access to additional
resources and ensure implementation and compliance goes smoothly, as it allows
OEMs to address customer-specific food safety challenges.
Jeff Barach, Ph.D., is FSMA Consultant to PMMI
Learn more about PMMI and the PACK EXPO trade shows atPMMI.org andPackexpo.com.