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Food safety compliance
7 Steps to implement food safety compliance
- Identify required standards
- Use of pesticides in fresh produce farming
- Contamination compliance
- Marketing standards compliance
- Fresh produce labelling
- Cold chain compliance
This example uses the European Union as an example target market for fresh produce food safety compliance. Europe is very demanding about food safety, which is why dealing with fresh agricultural products is subject to various legal and other buyer requirements. But there are also opportunities to distinguish yourself by applying additional or niche market quality standards. This document provides an overview of the most common requirements and standards, as well as the specific requirements that apply to niche markets such as organic or Fair trade fruit and vegetables.
1. Identify required food safety standards
Determine which standards apply to your fresh produce enterprise. These are usually determined by the destination market place of your fresh produce. For example, if your fresh produce will be sold in the European Union then EU standards will be set by the European Commission and will include such as EU Fruits & Vegetables standards.
Which legal and non-legal requirements must your product comply with?
No matter where you are in the FSMA or GFSI process, Food Safety Compliance Group offers all of the services required for you to reach and maintain compliance.
Food Safety Compliance Group consists of food safety and quality experts that consult with start-ups, small and medium size food & beverage manufacturers, growers, packing houses, hydroponic greenhouses and quick service restaurants.
We work side by side with you to assure that your food safety and quality control programs meet the requirements necessary to successfully run your businesses. We also help you set appropriate expectations by managing the relationship with a plan of communication that clearly identifies your business needs and overall scope of the project.
Our consultants have decades of experience in the development and implementation of robust food safety, quality and regulatory compliance systems for top-tier food manufacturing firms.
We specialize in:
FDA Food Code
SQF System Development
Produce Safety Rule Implementation
Preventive Controls for Human Food (PCQI)
Foreign Supplier Verification Program
Sanitary Transport Rule
Seafood, Meat and Poultry, Juice HACCP
GAP, GLOBALG.AP. PrimusGFS
ISO 222000/FSSC 22000
Our food safety & quality consultants have the technical expertise and supply chain knowledge to provide the services you need to build the trust of your customers. This will improve your profitability and help you to stand above the rest in your respective food sector category.
We provide day-of-audit support to assure your certification audits run smoothly. We also conduct onsite audits of your suppliers' food safety programs.
2. Use of controlled materials in food manufacturing
We offer consulting services for restaurants and foodservice businesses.
It’s been said that your reputation is only as good as your last meal served. Our food safety consulting services offer technical information and guidance to help ensure food safety as well as guest and regulatory compliance.
We have years of in-depth experience and understanding of the restaurant and foodservice industries and technical services.
We will review and help you manage every aspect of your restaurant operations including food safety, physical safety and operations.
We can assist with state and federal regulatory compliance, supply chain management, risk assessments, allergen management, traceability, crisis/recall assistance, complaint management.
Training - We offer Certified Food Handler, Certified Food Manager, Certified HACCP Manager training. - NSF helps you accurately and efficiently gain full supply chain visibility. Increasingly complex food supply chains make traceability an equally complex challenge. We can establish the traceability of food products and ingredients at all stages of production, processing and distribution. We look at all the issues to enable quick and efficient traceback including recordkeeping and procedures, risk analysis, and product handling.
Supply Chain Assurance – Your food sources are critical to your success. Whether you source your foods from local or through food service suppliers, we help you efficiently and effectively maintain safe, quality food products.
Risk Assessments – We help assess your risks and recommend ways to reduce risk; from employee handling practices to your menu. With vast hands on food safety knowledge, FSCG experts can guide food companies through the complex process of risk assessment. We provide many risk-based services to help protect your business and your bottom line.
For info on Food Safety Training and Consulting Click Here.
3. Contamination compliance
Whether you’re Applying For a Grant of Inspection, in need of pre-requisite program and specific HACCP Category food safety training, Food Safety Assessment (FSA), addressing deficiencies noted as a result of an FSA or Noncompliance Reports (NRs) or validating your process, FSCG can help you work through and successfully navigate the complex regulatory requirements and maintain, or regain compliance with applicable FSIS regulations.
We will review your plant process control programs including HACCP, SSOP and GMP/Prerequisite programs, supporting documentation and process validation documentation. Assess your plant pathogen control programs and review your facility sanitation procedures and reviewing plant records.
FSCG offers in-house basic and advanced HACCP training and practical applications to your meat and poultry products and process.
Are you currently or need to be third party audited by SQF, FSSC 22000, PrimusGFS? We can conduct a pre-audit system assessment, find any potential gaps, provide guidance to fill those gaps and ensure you pass your annual announced or unannounced third-party food safety audit. We can also assist in scheduling your audit through a qualified certification body. We also provide can have your required GFSI third party audit through a qualified certification body.
Other services include Product Specification Development or review, Development of supplier standards and Quality manuals or programs review and development.
These contaminants have several routes throughout the supply chain (farm to fork) to enter and make a fresh produce product unfit for consumption. Bacillus cereus, Campylobacterjejuni, Clostridium botulinum, C. perfrigens,Pathogenic Escherichia coli, Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella spp., Shigella spp.,Pathogenic Staphylococcus aureus, Vibrio cholera, V.parahaemolyticus, V. vulnificus and Yersiniaenterocolitica are common bacterial hazards (a type of biologicalcontaminant). Chemical fresh produce contaminants that can enter the fresh produce supply chain include pesticides, heavy metals, and other chemical agents.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has recognized fresh produce contamination as a global challenge in several documents and reports [1,2]. It is clearly acknowledged in a statement:“fresh produce contamination that occurs in one place may affect the health of consumers living on the other side of the planet” . In fact, a vast majority of people experience a food borne or waterborne disease at some point in their lives worldwide. Therefore, consumption of contaminated foods causes illness in millions of people and many die as a result of it. This scenario makes “fresh produce contamination”a serious issue. The list of fresh produce contamination challenges is very long and keeps growing. I would list three challenges, fresh produce contamination, antibiotics in fresh produce products and intentional contamination of foods, to highlight the importance of this topic.
4. Food marketing standards compliance
The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is transforming the nation’s food safety system by shifting the focus from responding to foodborne illness to preventing it. Congress enacted FSMA in response to dramatic changes in the global food system and in our understanding of foodborne illness and its consequences, including the realization that preventable foodborne illness is both a significant public health problem and a threat to the economic well-being of the food system.
Thank you food and agricultural workers!
FDA has finalized seven major rules to implement FSMA, recognizing that ensuring the safety of the food supply is a shared responsibility among many different points in the global supply chain for both human and animal food. The FSMA rules are designed to make clear specific actions that must be taken at each of these points to prevent contamination.
5. Certification of food safety compliance
Generally, domestic and foreign food facilities that are required to register with section 415 of the Food, Drug, & Cosmetic Act must comply with the requirements for risk-based preventive controls mandated by the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) as well as the modernized Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMPs) of this rule (unless an exemption applies). It is important to note that applicability of the CGMPs is not dependent upon whether a facility is required to register.
This rule, which became final in September 2015, requires food facilities to have a food safety plan in place that includes an analysis of hazards and risk-based preventive controls to minimize or prevent the identified hazards.
Compliance dates are staggered, based on the size of the business, with separate dates for the requirements of the supply chain program. Training, education, and technical assistance are available for those covered by this rule.
6. Food labelling and packaging
A food label, the information presented on food product, is one of the most important and direct means of communicating information to the consumer. The internationally accepted definition of a food label is any tag, brand, mark, pictorial or other descriptive matter, written, printed, stenciled, marked, embossed or impressed on, or attached to, a container of food or food product. This information, which includes items such as ingredients, quality and nutritional value, can accompany the food or be displayed near the food to promote its sale.
In 2014 at the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2), governments affirmed that “empowerment of consumers is necessary through improved and evidence-based health and nutrition information and education to make informed choices regarding consumption of food products for healthy dietary practices”.
FAO works in partnership with WHO to advise the Codex Alimentarius Commission on technical and policy matters related to food labelling. The Codex Committee on Food Labelling (CCFL) is the Codex subsidiary body responsible for setting standards and guidelines on labelling that is applicable to all foods and the Codex General Standard for Labelling of Prepackaged Foods (CXS 1-1985) is the key Codex instrument for delivering information about food to the consumer. The Codex standard is used by countries as guidance for harmonization and has also been used as the basis for new food labelling policies.
These FDA Food Labeling web pages address the labeling requirements for foods under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and its amendments. Food labeling is required for most prepared foods, such as breads, cereals, canned and frozen foods, snacks, desserts, drinks, etc. Nutrition labeling for raw produce (fruits and vegetables) and fish is voluntary. We refer to these products as "conventional" foods. For detailed information on dietary supplements, a special category of products that comes under the general umbrella of foods, but which has separate labeling requirements, see "Dietary Supplements."*
* Terms such as "functional foods" or "nutraceuticals" are widely used in the marketplace. Such foods are regulated by FDA under the authority of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, even though they are not specifically defined by law.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced today that January 1, 2024, will be the uniform compliance date for final food labeling regulations that are issued in calendar years 2021 and 2022. This action does not change existing requirements for compliance dates contained in final rules published before January 1, 2021.
The FDA periodically announces uniform compliance dates for new food labeling requirements to minimize the economic impact on the food industry of having to respond separately to each labeling change. The FDA generally encourages industry to comply with new labeling regulations as quickly as feasible. However, all food products subject to the January 1, 2024, uniform compliance date must comply with the appropriate labeling regulations when initially introduced into interstate commerce on or after January 1, 2024.
For some food labeling regulations, the FDA will set a compliance date that differs from the uniform compliance date if special circumstances justify a different compliance date. The specific compliance date is published when a final regulation is issued.
- Regulatory Impact Analysis
- Qualitative Risk Assessment:Risk of Activity/Food Combinations for Activities (Outside the Farm Definition) Conducted in a Facility Co-Located on a Farm (PDF: 651KB)
- Qualitative Risk Assessment: Risk of Activity/Food Combinations for Activities (Outside the Farm Definition) Conducted in a Facility Co-Located on a Farm: Response to Public Comments (PDF: 110KB)
7. Food cold chain compliance
Transportation of goods can be a difficult and complex process, which only becomes more complex when the product being shipped is temperature-sensitive. Supply chains that work with temperature-sensitive products are known as cold chains, and they are controlled by various regulatory bodies depending on the country of origin and the type of product being shipping. Cold chains are required to be compliant with the rules of their country or region, including a safe temperature range, and proper storage during and after transportation. So what does it take to become cold chain compliant?
Proactive Temperature Control
Cold chain compliance begins with knowing what temperature range your product needs to be in, and ensuring that all storage and transport facilities are set to that temperature. Additionally, the product should be lowered to that temperature before being placed in a truck, as this will make it easier to maintain the correct temperature during transport. Some cold chains benefit from insulated packaging designed to minimize temperature changes.
Deciding on the best transportation method for your cold chain depends on the needs of the product you're shipping. When products are highly temperature sensitive, require freezing temperatures, or are being shipped long distances, refrigerated (reefer) trucks may be the best option. However, if you are transporting products with a less sensitive temperature range, or they are being transported only a short distance, an insulated truck may be a better option.
Streamline the Process
Delays in transportation can mean major problems for cold chains. Often delays cause temperatures to change too dramatically for the product to be safe, resulting in a huge cost and waste of product. When planning to become a cold chain, it is essential to have a plan in place to minimize delays and mitigate problems, in order to ensure that your products arrive safely and on time.
Consider utilizing software like Producepak that can help you to better manage your cold chain.
The Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) final rule for the Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food (STF), which became effective on June 6, 2016, established requirements for shippers, loaders, rail or motor carriers, and receivers involved in transporting human and animal food. The goal of the STF is to prevent transportation practices that create food safety risks, such as failure to properly refrigerate food, inadequate cleaning of vehicles between loads, and failure to properly protect food. To help key industry stakeholders stay in compliance with the rule, the International Refrigerated Transportation Association (IRTA), a Core Partner of GCCA, developed the IRTA Refrigerated Transportation Best Practices Guide. The guide was developed primarily for refrigerated carriers utilizing truck, trailer and multi-temperature means of transporting food. Select a category below to download this free guide:
Cold chain logistics regulations are a big part of the Food Safety Modernization Act. Not properly following cold chain regulations could result in fines, penalties, rejected loads, and wasted products. Perhaps the most critical component of the cold chain is the safe transport of products from one point to another.
With every stop a load of products makes, the risk of contamination and spoilage increases as products are introduced to new environments and exposed to changing temperatures. Minimizing the handling of pallets and their movement from one space to another helps manage these issues. Plastic shipping pallets can further support the safe transport of products by providing easy-to-clean, sanitizable pallet decks and RFID tracking features.
Food safety compliance is a top concern for food and beverage companies, and for good reason. Not only does it help to ensure the safety of your consumers, but it also prevents serious consequences like hefty fines and reputation damage. While each company is unique and thus must take its own tailored approach to compliance, there are a few industry best practices you can use as a starting point for designing more specific programs.
1) Know Which Regulations Apply to You
Understanding which regulatory requirements apply to your company is the critical preliminary step to ensuring compliance specifications are being met. From the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) to USDA regulations, different governing bodies are in place to ensure quality and safety in environments where food is handled, from farms to processing facilities. Your company may fall under the authority of one or more sets of regulations, but it’s important to know for sure. According to a survey conducted by SafetyChain and The Acheson Group, more than 10% of respondents were unsure as to whether their food and beverage company fell under FSMA.
2) Develop Procedures & Train Accordingly
Every food and beverage company must take a disciplined approach to ensure compliance with applicable regulations. Based on guidelines, companies should put their own preventive controls in place to monitor compliance specifications. For instance, Restaurant News explains that companies under FSMA must develop a detailed Food Safety Plan outlining specific controls intended to mitigate potential risks. Data like temperature readings should be tracked, and it’s also important to develop strict procedures to prevent contamination and maintain cleanliness. Once these procedures are in place, companies should then provide thorough training for all employees so everyone has a complete understanding of their role in maintaining food safety and quality.
3) Optimize Records Management
A final but important step in ensuring compliance is optimizing records management. Every critical piece of data from processes like task checklists to vendor approval must be properly documented and easily accessible. This will help you ensure your food safety and quality program requirements are being met every day, while also keeping your company prepared for audits and inquiries.
SafetyChain Software is a cloud-based food quality management system that reduces costs, waste and risk for food companies. Our powerful FSQA platform gives quality and operations managers an easy-to-use tool to automate compliance, safety and quality programs while providing valuable real-time data to help optimize operations. Learn more at https://safetychain.com.
As the global food safety testing market increases, companies must focus on hygienic food processing equipment to meet regulations…
The threat of foodborne illnesses has led to the implementation of strict food safety regulations. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) it is estimated that one in 10 people suffer from a foodborne illness every year. More worryingly, 420,000 people around the world die each year from such illnesses, including 125,000 children, who are more at risk.
With the globalisation of food production and supply continuing to increase, manufacturers are under pressure to ensure their food products meet the requirements of not only their own country, but international food safety authorities. Food safety refers to procedures and regulations to prevent the contamination and poisoning of food products. This necessitates meeting specific requirements in terms of preparation, handling and storage of food, to ensure the risk of foodborne diseases is reduced, which are enforced by bodies such as the FDA, USDA and 3-A Dairy and Food. Accredited testing services and laboratories are in place to ensure these requirements are met, and equipment manufacturers work closely with these bodies to identify and meet standards.
In short, the continued growth and success of the global food industry is reliant upon these global testing regulations. Lack of sufficient food testing can increase the risk of foodborne illnesses, which in turn can lead to the outbreak of disease, resulting in lasting damage to companies’ reputations, as well as costly product recalls or shutdown of production lines. With the stakes so high, it is no surprise the food safety testing services market is expected to see huge growth over the coming years, forecasted to reach over £12.6 ($17) billion by 2021.
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With dynamically changing trends and more and more players entering plant-based dairy alternatives market differentiation is becoming a key. There are a lot of products for consumers to choose from, and it’s more difficult than ever to stand out.
Progress in regions where food safety testing is already established is expected to anchor this growth, as companies continue to be audited to meet standards under the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) in the US in 2011, as well as measures put in place by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), has increased the demand for food safety testing services in North America and Western Europe. However, developing countries still suffer from a lack of regulation and proper testing mechanisms, which can compromise trade between territories and provide problems for the growth of food safety testing services.
Things are slowly improving, however, with the Asia Pacific region as well as emerging nations such as China, India and Brazil starting to see significant growth in the food safety testing market. This is driven through increased awareness among all parties – from governments and authorities to the consumer – of the importance of safe food products, as well as the need to protect the environment. This growing concern over food safety and sustainability will continue to see governments around the world invest further in food safety regulations.
Taking the FSMA as an example, this act was implemented following several high-profile cases that severely impacted the trust of consumers. The act includes various rulemakings and guidance documents to better protect food products in terms of prevention mechanisms, inspection and compliance and recall authority. It also establishes safety standards that make importers of food products responsible for the quality of imported goods.
When considering prevention mechanisms, sanitation control is a key concern for food manufacturers. Key concerns lie in the quality of incoming materials, condition and cleanliness of food-contact surfaces, prevention of cross contamination and the control of employee health and hygiene. As modern-day processing technologies continue to develop, a range of sanitary and contained food processing equipment is now available to meet food industry regulations.
Raw material handling
The raw materials used in the manufacture of food products should be checked before entering a production line. Despite regulations increasing to protect manufacturers when importing raw materials from developing countries, certain procedures can be put in place to ensure the quality of raw materials and food ingredients used at entry point. Quality checking at this stage not only protects the food product itself but can also protect downstream equipment and the risk of cross contamination. A range of check-screening and quality control solutions is available for auditing incoming materials, removing contamination before it can enter the process line.
Condition and cleanliness of food-contact surfaces
The cleaning of any equipment and surface that comes into contact with food is an integral part of any sanitation programme. In some instances, these programmes are not always fully carried out, due to tiresome cleaning procedures, cumbersome machinery or equipment that is difficult to fully sanitise. A variety of of sanitary sieving and filtration solutions have been developed to meet food industry processing requirements in terms of sanitation. A range of vibratory sieving equipment, grading separators and inline liquid filtration has also been engineered to provide manufacturers with machinery that is quick and easy to dismantle and clean, without the need for tools, designed with minimal food-contact parts which are crevice-free.
Prevention of cross contamination
Cross contamination can be a factor in the spread of foodborne illnesses. Contamination can be spread through various entry points, from equipment and production areas to operators and product containers. The sanitary design of a food production line is also an important part of preventing cross contamination, addressing both bacterial and allergenic issues. In addition, these vibratory screeners, grading separators and industrial filters can be fully-enclosed to protect products from contamination, as well as eliminating the spread of potentially harmful dust and fumes into the production environment. Russell Finex equipment has been designed to meet the requirements of food safety authorities.
Control of employee health and hygiene
As well as monitoring the materials and equipment used in food manufacture, it is important to protect production operators, and ensure the equipment is user-friendly and safe. Enclosed sieving and filtration equipment not only protects the product from potential contamination and the spread of illness from food handlers, but in turn protects the handlers themselves from potentially harmful dust and fumes. Moreover, as well as providing equipment that is easy to disassemble and clean, a range of safety sieving equipment is available to meet manual handling regulations.