Food Safety Modernization Act: what does it mean for your organization?

Food Safety Modernization Act: what does it mean for your organization?

New requirements came into force for the food industry on September 19, 2016. Both human and animal food manufacturing facilities must meet certain good practice requirements under the FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

The new rules have been created to minimize serious illness and death that can be caused by unsafe food products, by focusing on preventing food contamination throughout the entire production process.

What does this mean for the food industry?

Human food facilities must now meet preventive controls and Current Good Manufacturing Practice requirements (CGMPs). Animal food facilities must also meet CGMPs, although larger animal food businesses have an additional year to get ready for meeting the standards.

The FDA can order companies to recall potentially unsafe products under the new FSMA rules and can also fine offending companies up to $500,000 – or pursue a criminal prosecution against them.

These new rules mean that the government is now more vigilant over internal processes and record keeping. Companies are expected to be rigorous in demonstrating their food safety standards, showing that they are monitoring the entire production process, for instance through an active verification program and via RFID or NFC tagging.

The importance of weighing equipment

The FDA has advised that facilities should set up a thorough system for documenting internal processes, so that they can clearly demonstrate that legal standards are being met.

Manufacturers are advised to be proactive and stringent in looking for potential problems that may cause food safety issues.

As a crucial element in most industrial manufacturing processes, weighing equipment should be factored in to FSMA adherence procedures, including, for example:

  • Updating weighing equipment to more hygenic options, such as stainless steel and a fully enclosed cover for easy and efficient washdown.
  • Ensuring that weighing equipment is used effectively: for instance, using checkweighers at appropriate points in the production process to obtain and record production data.
  • Using the right scales to provide the most accurate, legal for trade weights, to avoid mislabelling.
  • IP69K enclosure design to ensure instrumentation protection.

Avery Weigh-Tronix provides stainless steel bench and floor scales plus Z Series checkweighers and indicators with IP69K laboratory certified enclosures.

Next steps

If you’re unsure whether your company is FSMA compliant – or feel confused about what you need to do to meet the regulations, now is the time to take action.

If you would like to better understand how weighing systems could help your business adhere to FSMA regulations, please contact us.

To find out more about the FSMA, read the FDA’s recently issued draft guidance documents, which give more detail on how to comply with the new standards. More guidance will be added over the next few years, as the FSMA legislation is expanded.