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Americas: Helping processors comply with FSMA

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Fresh fruit and vegetable processors and small food companies are expected to have the most difficulty complying with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), according to a study of 47 food industry stakeholders by PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies.

With only limited regulatory oversight before FSMA, these businesses have been making more investments in new equipment to help meet compliance.

Additionally, small food companies and farms are challenged with overhead costs while those that source ingredients from foreign-based suppliers must now ensure that their suppliers comply with the law’s food supplier program.

The PMMI report notes that many managers still need clarification on deadlines, as well as specifics on what parts of the law are relevant to their facilities.

“Understanding FSMA compliance and documentation requirements present significant challenges to implementation,” says Jorge Izquierdo, VP of market development.

“As a result, about 30 percent of participating companies – particularly smaller ones – plan to use OEMs as a consulting resource to help figure out how FSMA applies to their operations.”

An additional challenge with FSMA is the continuing roll-out of new documentation requirements.

Some companies are still awaiting guidance from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Since FSMA is performance-based and does not require specific equipment designs, preparation activities focus mainly on internal staff training on new procedures and protocols, establishing preventive control and instituting more documentation.

Drivers for new equipment are mostly business growth and creation of new projects – but designs and services must address current food safety objectives.

At Pack Expo International and Pharma Expo 2016 in Chicago, US from November 6 to 9, the Food Safety Summit Resource Center will enable food professionals to meet subject matter experts on food safety issues and compliance.