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The rising demands of producing safe food products

Natalie Ohanessian new hope
FSMA means new food safety requirements for manufacturers. Take these steps to ensure you're prepared.

In an age that’s reached an all-time high of product innovation, on a parallel path, federal regulations for product food safety have equally reached their highest level of rigor. A sustainable and effective food safety strategy is sometimes referred to as cultivating a positive and empowering food safety culture within an organization. This food culture is one that is implemented from the top down and is proactive rather than reactive. A comprehensive food safety plan requires real-time input from all key players within the business for ongoing effectiveness.

The most modern set of regulations that have launched nationally are part of the Food Safety Modernization Act, set forth by the Food & Drug Administration. FSMA was signed by President Obama in 2011 and poses new requirements for food manufacturers across the nation. According to FDA, it "aims to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus from responding to contamination to preventing it." As food industry folks, it is important for us to stay abreast with these evolving federal regulations.

Below are several tips for keeping your food business up-to-date and educated with these rising demands for manufacturing safe products. Adherence is mandated by various deadlines, depending on the size of your organization.

Stay up to date. Since the food industry is a constantly evolving field, it is critical for food business to stay up-to-date on these regulatory standards. Especially if your role is within quality assurance, you are the group of individuals who most commonly lead your team in the enforcement of this federal legislation. To keep updated with all FDA updates, subscribe to updates on its website here. Additionally, subscribing to organizations focused around food safety like Food Safety News can help in making sure you stay updated with current events in the industry.

Know your training options. Certification bodies, which help support enforcing the Global Food Safety Initiative schemes, provide a various range of trainings for food manufacturers. A handful of certification bodies have expanded their training offerings to include FSMA updates. These certification bodies are a great resource for trainings. SCS Global, SAI Global as well as Eurofins Scientific, to name a few, are providing several workshops to support the education and implementation of FSMA.

Have a plan. To have a successful transition into these new standards, it will most certainly take an entire team! That team may include key players within your organization such as upper management, QA, sanitation, operations, maintenance, supply chain and many more. Set S-M-A-R-T goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. Get buy-in from your team and remember to split up the work within the organization. Hold weekly meetings to cover updates, modifications and any findings that may affect other departments, and remember to keep it positive and smile along the way!

Catch Natalie Ohanessian at Natural Products Expo West
What: An Introduction to Modern Food Safety & Quality Management Techniques
When: Wednesday, March 8, 2017


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