Newly-enacted laws, newly sworn-in legislative bodies and New Year’s resolutions aside, the start of 2019 is bringing a major change to the food and beverage industry. As of the Feb. 1 audit date, the Issue 8 mandate of the BRC Standard for Food Safety is impacting companies around the world who are taking a new look at their food safety mindsets and measures.
The Issue 8 changes in the BRCGS Global Standard for Food Safety announced in 2018 and effective for audits this month, was done after careful consideration and collaboration among teams comprised of food manufacturers, foodservice operators, retailers, certification organizations and independent technical experts.
Here’s how it breaks down for those in the food and beverage industry – and how x-ray inspection fits into the changes:
A Compulsory Food Safety Culture:
The Issue 8 clause was released last year as part of BRCGS’s Global Standard for Food Safety requiring manufacturers to develop “a strategic plan for food culture.”
As part of putting together and executing plans for a better food safety culture, manufacturers are asked to assess their current culture, make improvements and then review the effectiveness of those improvements. Assessments can include employee surveys about company values and food safety culture, a review of current food safety practices and interventions and an evaluation of training. Food safety activities to be reviewed include determining ways in which foods and beverages are checked for safety. That, in turn, involves the use of x-ray systems to find and reject contaminants.
Senior Management Commitment:
To make a strong food safety culture happen, senior management must be committed to food safety, with a focus on open channels of communication and continual improvement. Areas of improvement can include methods of inspecting products for physical contaminants and locations in which detection systems can prevent safety-related problems.
A Safe Operating Environment and Environmental Monitoring:
Assessing facilities for safety spans site standards, personnel and high-risk/high-care/ambient high-care production risk zones. In addition to factors like protective clothing and equipment cleanliness, operating a plant safely involves the detection and control of foreign contaminants in products that can harmfully impact consumers as well as employees.
Plans and Systems:
HACCP and Food Safety and Quality Management Systems identify and allow companies to manage hazards as well as document and manage systems to ultimately produce safe products. Documentation is a significant part of such plans and management systems. This is something that can be achieved through equipment and software that record important product information, such as product images captured during x-ray inspection.
Enhanced Food Security:
Per the Issue 8 changes, manufacturers are encouraged to further develop systems for food defense and food security to prevent any safety issues caused by intentional food tampering or other actions that impact the security of the food chain. In addition to detecting foreign contaminants, x-ray inspection systems can check product for crucial quality attributes, such package integrity and component count.