The Food Safety Modernization Act and the Supply Chain, Explained
by Maureen Perroni, on June 1, 2018
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has periodically revised the acceptable standards for manufacturers and sellers of foods and beverages over the years. Keeping up with these changes in a timely fashion is the crux of compliance for American producers of edible products, which means the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) compliance dates are drawing a great deal of attention.
"The FDA gave itself more power to oversee the production methods and quality of food."
The processes food and beverage items pass through on their way to consumers have to meet several important requirements under FSMA. Recent years have seen more of its compliance deadlines pass, with specific rules for companies to obey.
In 2018 alone, there are several significant dates, such as the Produce Safety Regulation coming into force for small farms producing sprouts and large businesses dealing with other types of vegetables. Furthermore, the Sanitary Transportation of Food requirement is now active for small companies after affecting large businesses in 2017.
Affecting Production, Recalls and Imports
As you undoubtedly know, food facilities must have concrete, documented plans in place to improve their resistance to common hazards. Furthermore, the core FSMA mandated that the FDA must implement specific rules targeting "vulnerable points" most conducive to food contamination. Recalls have also become more closely regulated, with the FDA able to not only ask companies to recall unsafe products, but also to issue orders when the businesses fail in their attempts to complete the process.
Simply put, when goods' origins aren't clearly delineated, organizations can end up with inefficient recalls. Moreover, such a lack of clarity could force organizations to call back goods that weren't affected by contamination, because they can't prove those goods aren't harmed.
Importing foods is also mentioned in the FSMA, with the FDA able to demand third-party certification or another trusted form of documentation. Coordination of record-keeping and approval across borders is now more important than ever for organizations that rely on overseas ingredients or finished foods as part of their offerings.
Reacting to Recent Deadlines
April brought the Sanitary Transportation of Food Rule into force for all companies, a year after the largest organizations had to comply, creating new requirements for supply chain operators. As Food Engineering pointed out, responsibility for safe transportation of goods is now on the organization arranging the shipment - whether that's a manufacturer, importer or other entity.
Companies must make sure vehicles are clean and maintained, controls are in place during transit, personnel are trained and all important data is logged and accessible. Poorly labeled products may be difficult to trace or account for as they move long distances. Thus, a lack of Enterprise Labeling may harm organizations even if they haven't suffered a recall.
Traceability of food and beverages must begin with effective shipping labeling. Ensuring each product is traceble at every step of its journey from manufacturers to consumers is a major competency in today's closely regulated food and beverage space. Learn more about the right automated Enterprise Labeling Solutions for your food and beverage traceability needs.