There are typical issues when it comes to processed food and sanitation. Typical recalls revolve around combating listeria or salmonella outbreaks. This lead to a shocking statistic: one in six Americans suffers a food borne illness each year. With this in mind, Congress passed the Food Safety Modernization Act to reduce this rate and large food processing companies are working to meet the newly imposed deadlines and regulations. The new approach means the FDA will be able to inspect and stop a large facility from distributing tainted food if the regulations aren’t met. The standard before was serious illness.
As the industry continues to work to understand and implement these new laws, the FDA has a new boss in the White House, and it remains to be seen how he will handle the FSMA. In fact, the FDA recently announced it was postponing some compliance dates. Still, businesses shouldn’t take this as a sign to procrastinate. For one thing, the current administration’s concern with FDA policy largely had to do with generic drugs and red tape, rather than food safety.
What is more likely to happen is that business-to-business investment will be spurred by the need for compliance. For example, more investment in technology that lessens the likelihood of sanitation compliance issues or lack of consistency in product will reduce the need for review services and increase the likelihood that companies will pass a surprise inspection. Data from the latest FSMA Update Report indicates that is exactly what is happening for smaller businesses – partnering for better technology in order to meet the new set of rules.
It is always the right time to have another set of expert eyes look at your processes and determine whether you could benefit – and save – from an upgrade. As the food processing industry goes through the growing pains of compliance, taking a good look at the technology you are currently utilizing may just provide cost savings, more efficiency and compliance.