By Tom Egan, Vice President, Industry Services, PMMI
The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is the most comprehensive food safety legislation passed in the United States since the 1960s. "Dairy products and shell eggsî are recognized as one of the seven primary categories of food that will be subject to the new legislation. Companies at each level of the supply chain will be impacted in several ways, including increased reporting to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Since the legislation is quite broad, and additional funding is required, FDA will put the new mandates into effect over time. One of the first mandates to be enacted is the "one up, one downî program, which holds each company in the food manufacturing chain accountable for tracing all shipments from their suppliers to where each product is sold. The legislation also provides FDA with mandatory recall authority, eliminating the need to rely on the compliance of the food manufacturer. With these additional tracing requirements, food manufacturers will have the ability to quickly and effectively identify products in the event of a recall. But it also means dairy manufacturers will need to update their equipment with the newest track and trace, data collection and serialization technologies.
Although the new legislation is complicated, dairy manufacturers can look to the pharmaceutical industry and European food processors for insight into best practices to help them navigate the "one up, one downî program.
Let's look at the pharmaceutical sector first. With increased proliferation of counterfeit drugs, pharmaceutical manufacturers were forced to implement standard operating procedures ó including "one up, one downî ó to validate production lines. Many of the technologies and processes currently used primarily or strictly in pharmaceutical production could have crossover potential for the dairy industry. Some validation software, for example, could be adapted to food lines to provide the same level of sophistication and checking throughout the supply chain.
The European Union (EU) implemented strict "one up, one downî policies in reaction to the Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) crisis in the late 1990's, and the effort culminated with the creation of the European Food Safety Authority. Additionally, a common food law enacted in the region in 2005 placed a strong focus on food safety at all steps along the production chain. Like FSMA, the law outlines traceability programs aimed to quickly implement recalls, putting the obligation on food manufacturers to be more diligent in their tracking.
PACK EXPO Las Vegas (September 26-28; Las Vegas Convention Center), the largest event for packaging and processing innovation in North America in 2011, will have plenty of resources on hand to help dairy manufacturers be prepared for the enforcement of FSMA mandates. The Processing Zone will feature technologies to enhance food safety, reduce waste, ensure product freshness and improve sustainability. The Processing Zone will also be home to the Food Safety Summit Resource Center, where leading industry and subject matter experts will be available to help attendees learn about the latest breakthroughs in food safety and gain valuable insight into potential solutions.
Attendees will also be able to discover pharmaceutical technologies that can be adapted to dairy applications, thanks to the new Pharmaceutical Pavilion. Exhibitors in this special area of the show will feature the newest data collection technologies, along with innovations that address safety and security, product protection and anti-counterfeiting. Additionally, Anuga FoodTec, Europe's largest food processing and packaging show, will have a presence at PACK EXPO Las Vegas 2011 to help packaging and processing suppliers seeking to expand into the European market. Experts at the Anuga FoodTec booth will also be able to provide insights into food safety technology in Europe.
Discounted registration is available at Packexpo.com. Passes purchased on or before Sept. 7, 2011, are $30.00 and increase to $60.00 on Sept. 8. View a video message prepared by Pack Expo for Dairy Foods magazine.