Understanding and implementing new rules for food safety has been complex. For many manufacturers, it can be unclear what the
current best practices are to prevent contamination
and ensure compliance. This is particularly
challenging in flavors, a complex market segment
with many players. Manufacturers may use a
variety of different flavor ingredients sourced from
multiple suppliers to create the mouthwatering
appeal that differentiates a product. Understanding
the drivers for recent changes in food safety
regulations, certification options and actions food
manufacturers should take will bring some clarity
to this cloudy picture.
It’s clear that a major shift was needed throughout
the entire supply chain to improve protection in the
food supply. Prior to new regulations such as the
FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), food
safety throughout the industry followed a reactive model. By adopting practices that identify and
prevent issues such as contamination, manufacturers protect public health, consumer trust and the
integrity of their reputations and brands.
The World Health Organization estimates that
one in ten people worldwide fall ill, 33 million
healthy life years are lost and 420,000 people die due
to foodborne illness every year (one-third of those
deaths are estimated to be children under five). 1
With FSMA, the U.S. is leading the way within the
global food industry. Manufacturers and regulatory
agencies in many countries, aware of the significant
threat of foodborne illness and other hazards within
the food supply chain, are treating U.S. standards
for food safety and quality as globally recognized
benchmarks. Some countries are also adopting
similar legislation to FSMA—such as China’s 2015
revised Food Safety Law and Canada’s Safe Foods
for Canadians Act.
It is critical for manufacturers of food products and ingredients worldwide to understand
the requirements to minimize risk, identify gaps
and noncompliance issues and implement needed
Why Did the Approach to Food Safety
Need to Change?
FSMA is the most sweeping reform of U.S. food
safety laws since the 1930s. Initially signed into law
in 2011, the Act came with many ambitious deadlines for rulemaking and rolling out new standards.
It was not surprising when the complexity of such
a huge undertaking led to progress shortfalls and
general industry confusion about exactly what
standards and requirements changed and when.
Rules continued to be implemented over the next five
years, culminating in a complete implementation
last year. However, the confusion has not completely
abated. Many requirements, such as foreign supplier
verification, are less clear than requirements for preventive control and hazard management, the latter
being a step that many manufacturers were already
doing to meet the changing needs of the market.
The goal of introducing risk-based preventive
controls within the food industry is to reduce the
potential for contamination and minimize recalls,
which is a departure from the days of simply
F- 1. The types of products shown below have been
linked to notable food contamination outbreaks or
recalls in the U.S.
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