After long anticipation, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is finally here. The most sweeping reform of the US food safety system coincides with the fourth industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0, with innovative automation technologies. The current trend is therefore shaping a food industry with less human intervention, regulated by compliance policies.
FSMA shifts the industry’s focus from responding to contamination to preventing it. On the food safety side, there has been major shift on multiple levels with FSMA – from revising Good Manufacturing Practices to Preventive Controls, integrating food fraud and, expanding the notion of food supply to include US and non-US facilities supplying ready-to-eat food and produce, as well as ingredients and raw material into the United States.
The journey to compliance starts with access to comprehensive information that is relevant to the product, and the markets the product is intended for. Companies supplying to and sourcing from multiple countries also face the additional challenge of accessing all relevant global data and mapping regulatory requirements across geographies.
The abundance and variety of data relevant to sourcing could become a hurdle for facilities implementing the supply chain management components of FSMA. The regulation requires hazard analysis and identification of supply chain preventive controls among others. In other words, understanding and analyzing product-specific risks that can be mitigated through proper supply chain management measures.
The rise in supply-chain related recalls is pushing regulators to look for effective measures that transcend the traditional one-up, one-down model. In the spirit of the prevention of contamination called for by FSMA, it is implied that in order for a food safety system to be effective, all constituents of a supply chain should have proper programs in place. As a result, companies have been quick in adopting the preventive rules model in their supply chain verification and audit programs, thus making the supply chain requirements that are applicable to them, also applicable to their suppliers.
At the 2017 GFSI Conference in Houston, on March 1 at 8:30am, SGS will host a panel of experts on “Managing Global Supply Chains under FSMA – Challenges, Opportunities and Strategies”. The session explores the impact of FSMA on global supply chain management practices and innovative solutions for compliance and transparency.
This post was written and contributed by:
SGS Global FSMA Program Director