The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) changes the landscape for food and beverage manufacturers. The new law grants the FDA the authority to regulate the food industry’s food safety practices, from growers to sellers, or “farm to fork.” FSMA is intended to provide enhanced consumer protection by changing the focus from responding to contamination to preventing it across the supply chain and increasing the speed of response if contamination does occur. Grantek is ready to help food and beverage manufacturers comply with the new law.
FSMA is complex and has scheduled rule rollout deadlines starting August 30, 2015 through May 30, 2016. Compliance to each new rule is dependent on the size of your business. Large businesses are required to comply within 12 months of a rule’s deadline and smaller businesses within 24-36 months. This means that manufacturers must understand the rules and dates of finalization so that they can develop policies, procedures and systems to comply.
FSMA seeks to improve the following:
- Consumer protection against contaminated food
- Incident prevention across the supply chain
- Rapid response if an incident does occur
FSMA seeks to reduce risk to consumers from adulterated product, mislabeled products containing allergens, and food-borne pathogen contamination. Few integration companies have personnel who understand the FDA or FSMA as deeply as Grantek’s staff does. Because we have extensive experience in the food industry, we are ready to help our clients develop technological elements of their written food safety plans. We can help you use the information that is already in your control systems to enhance and enable your food safety processes and controls, maintain records of facility monitoring systems and the actions taken to correct food safety problems. This provides protection to the consumer, and it provides your company with protection of your valuable brand equity.
Grantek’s integration capabilities can help improve traceability and recordkeeping throughout the manufacturing process. Technologies such as 2D barcodes and RFID increase speed and accuracy in identification. Grantek has implemented these technologies for allergen control and packaging verification, and to increase the speed of responsiveness on the line, in finished goods, in a RDC, or in a warehouse. The speed and accuracy at which production and packaging data is entered into an enterprise repository, such as a historian and/or an ERP system, determines the speed and granularity at which your company can respond. Increased speed and granularity together enable you to focus your recall efforts on only the products / lines / dates / SKUs that were actually affected.
As shown in the following diagram, two focus areas of FSMA are preventive controls and forensics. Reducing the risks shown in the red boxes, including: undeclared allergens; food-borne pathogens; unintentional adulterants; and FDA audit/recall, means addressing the challenges associated with each of those risks. For each challenge shown in the purple boxes, including incorrect packaging, incorrect ingredients, human mistakes, improper processing or storage, and worn equipment, there is a set of opportunities for improvement (blue boxes). Grantek’s areas of expertise are shown in the green boxes: they each represent an application type that Grantek can provide to our customers to help them respond to the challenges presented by FSMA compliance.
Grantek’s data integration capabilities can create complete traceability records for targeted recalls if the need arises, helping minimize the cost of a recall by improving the ability to rapidly identify the exact product potentially affected by it. This allows you to reduce the scope of a recall from the typical production day down to specific lots or sub-lots.
A key element of addressing food safety risks through your plant-floor information systems is to ensure that the production schedule data is clearly and correctly communicated to your plant floor systems. This means your automated line equipment may know exactly which product is being made, which ingredients are meant to be used, and what the equipment settings should be. With this context, the automated equipment can prevent wrong ingredients from being added, ensure that mix times and cooking times are long enough, and that all of the appropriate information associated with the production of that product is collected to prove compliance, through a track and trace system.
Grantek can also implement systems to collect data from your production equipment to help identify equipment nearing breakdown, so that unintentional adulterants caused by worn equipment may be avoided.
Many food-borne pathogens survive due to improper processing or storage. Monitoring the cooking and storage temperatures of intermediate and finished goods can be a time and labor-intensive process. Grantek can implement technology, often using your existing systems with incremental changes, to provide automated monitoring of both production and storage, and raise alarms when temperatures are not within compliance limits. This allows both rapid correction, as well as a complete, automated record that proves you have maintained your product within safe limits.
Imported food has its own set of regulations, and Grantek can help with putting systems in place to track supplier Certificate of Analysis for each lot and capture verification data from your laboratory. This data can also be made part of each finished product’s traceability record, enabling you to prove to your clients and the FDA auditors that your product is safe for the consumer.
FSMA is driving an increased emphasis on prevention across the food and beverage industry. Proper processes, equipment and information can not only decrease the risk of food borne illness or other health risks, but can also decrease costs due to recalls and negative publicity if contaminated product makes its way to market shelves. Our FSMA expertise spans a wider range of engineering and consulting disciplines than most integrators, making Grantek uniquely positioned to help our customers succeed in prevention, quick reaction and forensics as FSMA becomes a reality in the food and beverage vertical.