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Food Safety Regulation and Compliance Update – What You Need to Know

Food & Beverage, Red Meat

Food safety is a common goal among farmers/growers, manufacturers, retailers/foodservice operators, government and regulatory organizations and, of course, consumers. Even with intensive efforts to ratchet up safety measures over the past couple of decades, 48 million people a year in the U.S. still get sick from foodborne illness, and more than 3,000 people die, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). To achieve greater food safety and reduce those numbers, manufacturers strive to comply with food safety laws and regulations, which are frequently updated. In 2018, those in the consumer products industries keep close tabs on the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), among other key initiatives. X-ray inspection in the food industry is one tool that helps manufacturers comply with the FSMA and other regulations.

The continual protection of products bound for human consumption includes constant monitoring of requirements, mandates and suggested standards, practices and protocols, on local, national and global levels. As a manufacturer or processor, you have to not only act, but you have to know when, how and why to act.

Since the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was signed in 2011 – and spurred a new focus from responding to foodborne illness to preventing it – there have been ongoing updates, revisions and rolling compliance dates. Important compliance dates in 2018, include those that affect small businesses, very small businesses, importers and producers of lettuce, sprouts and Grade “A” milk and milk products subject to the pasteurized milk ordinance. There have been other relevant FSMA updates. In January, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued guidance documents aimed at helping importers and food producers meet key food safety provisions mandated by FSMA. FDA also recently announced the first accreditation body that falls under the Accredited Third Party Certification Program created under the FSMA.

Meanwhile, other regulatory agencies have zeroed in on prevention in the food safety battle. The Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), for example, continues to modernize poultry inspection under the new Poultry Inspection System and, earlier this year, announced that it is working to modernize inspection systems for hog slaughter facilities.

On a broader scale, the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) is a collaborative institution that works toward continuous improvement in food safety management systems. In February, GFSI published updated benchmarking documents designed for food safety certification programs.

How can you stay compliant with food safety mandates and adhere to voluntary preventative measures? Advanced x-ray systems from Eagle Product Inspection assist with food regulation compliance by performing inline inspection, safety checks, verification and product analysis that support manufacturers and suppliers in complying with FSMA and with risk-based preventative controls as espoused by the GFSI.

Software that accompanies x-ray food inspection machines, including Eagle’s proprietary SimulTask™ PRO and TraceServer™ programs record and collect information, help digitize the food supply chain to ensure compliance with audits and respond to any food safety question or issue. Eagle’s powerful food x-ray inspection systems include the FA3 Series, Pack 430 PRO and the Tall PRO XSDV, a dual view x-ray inspection system for packaged products. Those and other Eagle systems offer inspection, monitoring and verification features for preventative controls per FSMA requirements. X-ray systems are also versatile, delivering flexibility processors and manufacturers need to respond to new or updated requirements.

Click here for a webinar on how x-ray systems can help manufacturers with HACCP-based GFSI safety standards.

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