Just as discovering foreign material in products is critical in keeping food safe, so is discerning the latest international food laws and regulations from governments and organizations dedicated to protecting the food supply on a national and global level. Four years after the signing of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and nearly 20 years after the first benchmarking requirements drafted by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), there are evolutions, nuances and new deadlines relevant to today’s food manufacturers.
For example, compliance with FSMA’s preventive controls for human food is September 17, 2018 for very small businesses, the same date as compliance for businesses subjected to the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance. Other 2018 deadlines impact small farms and business for produce safety. Earlier this year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued new guidance documents to help importers and food producers meet important food safety provisions mandated by FSMA.
On an international level, GFSI recently released updated benchmarking documents for food safety certification programs. The new version is just one example of the regular benchmarking updates that reflect the latest best practices by industry and governments.
The evolution and refinements in regulations reflect the learning curve and continual evolution in food safety approaches. “As manufacturers strive to be compliant with regulations, many have realized that they are also strengthening the reputation of their brands and making their operations more efficient on a number of levels, ultimately for the health, safety and satisfaction of consumers,” says Melissa Wirrig, Head of Sales and Service, North America for Eagle Product Inspection.
One of the tools that food manufacturers use to stay compliant with food safety plans and validation and verification programs is x-ray food inspection. Advanced x-ray food inspection systems are installed at several critical control points in food manufacturing facilities to find and reject contaminants and simultaneously capture and collect important product information and images that can be retrieved quickly and easily in the event of an audit, food safety question or recall. “In that sense, just as food is protected, food manufacturers are able to protect their brand and distinguish themselves in a competitive marketplace,” Wirrig says.
Eagle Product Inspection offers a range of systems that help food companies achieve food regulation compliance, and in some cases, proactively go a step ahead of current regulations. Among those systems: the new Eagle EPX100. Introduced in March, the high-value x-ray system helps manufacturers increase food safety and comply with regulations in an easy-to-operate and easy-to-maintain machine that offers improved visibility and statistical data.