For companies in the food industry, understanding the latest updates to the Food Safety Modernization Act is necessary. The FDA released updates to the FSMA at the end of November, 2015. While these are updates, most of the new requirements are updates from previous requirements found in the act. Food manufacturers must comply with these changes. The updates for manufacturing are broken down into two categories: hazard analysis and preventive control, including risk management.
Hazard Analysis Requirements
Hazards in the food industry vary, including physical, chemical and biological. It is vital for manufacturers to test and analyze the food used and distributed to ensure recipients of the food are not contaminated. Often times, hazards occur naturally and are introduced unintentionally. However, once introduced, hazards may spread throughout the entire supply, causing potentially dangerous exposure to consumers.
Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points(HACCP) and Hazard Analysis Risk-based Prevention Controls(HARPC) are two plans to fully meet FDA and FSMA regulatory requirements.
Preventive Control Procedures
The FSMA updates indicate what measures should be utilized in order to provide adequate preventive control within the manufacturing industry. These preventive control procedures span the entire production and distribution process, including packaging of the food for shipment.
The cleanliness and sanitation of the work environment reduces contamination and possible outbreaks within the food. From proper handling to preventing employees with an illness coming to work, strict adherence to the FSMA updates reduces the potential for an outbreak. This in turn reduces the cost for recalls and loss of business from unsafe food.
Allergies may cause symptom outbreaks ranging from minor issues to death, depending on the severity of the allergy. Allergy causing ingredients must be noted. If a known allergy is connected to a particular ingredient, it must be clearly flagged so consumers can see what is used in the product and easily avoid it.
During distribution, there must be stoppage points where all food products up to this point may be stopped in a short period of time. With proper procedures in place, avoiding a mass distribution of contaminated food can be avoided. However, this may not occur until after some tests have indicated the distribution of these foods. With proper controls in the supply chain, stopping further distribution can be implemented. This directly leads into a withdrawal and recall plan. All food manufacturers must now have a clean outline as to what the business intends on doing in the event of a recall. This must be a swift and precise plan, in order to avoid infecting the general public.
FDA Monitoring of FSMA Updates
To ensure all updates are met, the FDA does have steps in place for proper monitoring. Written monitoring serves as the first basis of assurance. It indicates the manufacturer is following the new preventive controls throughout operations.
Corrections and Corrective actions, indicated within the writing and inside of the manufacturer’s facility cover everything from the minor adjustments necessary to process changes currently implemented to avoid hazardous situations.
Proper verification of the FSMA must be incorporated into the Prevention Controls. There are several verified methods for this procedure. It includes product testing and environmental testing. The verified method varies from one manufacturer to the next, as it must prove adequate based on the business to ensure human consumption.
QSE experts assist you in every step of the way to effectively implements FSMA requirements for regulatory compliance. They provide consulting, auditing and training for the quality management and food safety standards that will equip your company with the necessary knowledge and skills to perform flawlessly. You can reach them through this number 770-518-9967 or by filling out a proposal request here.