While large food companies and OEMs are well on their way toward compliance with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), many food companies are still struggling to understand all aspects of the new law. The latest FSMA Update Report by PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, analyzes responses from 47 food industry stakeholders on FSMA preparedness and identifies what food manufacturers need from supplier partners.
According to the report, fresh fruit and vegetable processors and small food companies are expected to have the most difficulty with compliance. With only limited regulatory oversight before FSMA, these businesses have been making more investments in new equipment to help meet compliance. Additionally, small food companies and farms are challenged with overhead costs while those that source ingredients from foreign-based suppliers must now ensure that their suppliers comply with the law’s food supplier program.
The PMMI report notes that many managers still need clarification on deadlines, as well as specifics on what parts of the law are relevant to their facilities. “Understanding FSMA compliance and documentation requirements present significant challenges to implementation” says Jorge Izquierdo, vice president of Market Development at PMMI. “As a result, about 30% of participating companies – particularly smaller ones – plan to use OEMs as a consulting resource to help figure out how FSMA applies to their operations.”
An additional challenge with FSMA is the continuing roll-out of new documentation requirements. Some companies are still awaiting guidance from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Since FSMA is performance-based and does not require specific equipment designs, preparation activities focus mainly on internal staff training on new procedures and protocols, establishing preventive control and instituting more documentation. Drivers for new equipment are mostly business growth and creation of new projects – but designs and services must address current food safety objectives.
At PACK EXPO International and Pharma EXPO 2016 (Nov. 6–9; McCormick Place, Chicago), food manufacturers can benefit from destinations such as the Food Safety Summit Resource Center located in the South Building, Booth S-2962. At the Food Safety Summit Resource Center, food professionals will have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with subject matter experts and address a wide range of food safety issues and compliance. Innovation Stage presentations will also cover topics such as “Promoting Food Safety through Representative Sampling and Hygienic Design” and “Secrets that Enable Factory Maintenance to Drive Better Food Safety.” These Innovation Stage presentations are 30-minute seminars located in the Upper North Building and will take place every half hour throughout the show.