Are you ready for the 2017 FSMA rule changes?

Categories: Food and Beverage, FSMA
March 14, 2017
Food and beverage industry regulation

New guidelines related to food safety and foodborne illness prevention will affect a large number of food manufacturers and processors in 2017.

For food and beverage processing companies, 2017 is a year for significant change regarding important components of the federal Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

Are you ready for the 2017 FSMA rule changes? Here is a detailed look at the seven core changes and how to ensure regulatory compliance.

1. Preventive controls for human food

  • Large facilities were required to prepare specific food safety plans by September 2016.
  • Manufacturers or processors that rely on raw materials or ingredients from suppliers must ensure their supply chain programs are FSMA-compliant by March 17.
  • Small businesses need to have food safety plans in place by September 17, 2017.

This rule and the next are designed to reduce the incidence of foodborne illnesses.

2. Animal food safety controls

Large facilities must have food safety plans in place by September 17, 2017. Those facilities needed to comply with federal current good manufacturing practices (CGMP) by September of last year.

Food and beverage industry regulation

New FSMA guidelines cover transportation, foreign suppliers and transportation.

3. Produce safety

FSMA regulations covering most farms take effect on January 26, 2018, which makes 2017 an important preparation year. The FSMA requirements relate to water quality and testing, use of manure and stabilized compost, the use of grazing or working animals, worker training and hygiene, equipment, tools, and buildings. Additional regulations apply to sprout farmers.

4. Sanitary transportation

The new rules apply to carriers, loaders, and shippers, requiring those transporting food to use sanitary practices. The guidelines require vehicles and equipment to be designed and used to keep cargo safe, proper temperature controls, protection from cross-contact, and protection from contamination from non-food items. Rules take effect April 6, with smaller businesses having an additional year.

5-6. Foreign imports

Food importers need to establish verification programs that ensure food from foreign facilities or farms is produced within safety standards, effective May 27. A related optional program allows for expedited entry for importers that meet certain supply chain requirements and agree to an independent third-party audit.

7. Intentional adulteration

Food manufacturers need to have risk-reduction strategies in place by July 2019, including a vulnerability assessment; mitigation strategies including monitoring, corrective actions, and verification systems; training; and recordkeeping.

Ensuring compliance

With so many new guidelines and requirements going into effect, there is a more urgent need for thorough and persistent documentation. Companies that have better records will be more easily able to show they are compliant and meet legal standards.

Compliance includes a number of core considerations:

  • Identifying risks
  • Identifying controls to mitigate those risks
  • Deploying those controls
  • Monitoring that controls are working

Maintaining compliance with all these food and beverage industry regulations means having integrated software platforms. Today’s compliance environment means your enterprise resource planning (ERP), business intelligence (BI) and customer relationship management (CRM) tools need to share, combine and analyze data in real time.

At The NexTec Group, we understand the complexities facing manufacturers when it comes to food and beverage industry rules. Our national team of consultants provides advice on systems and processes to ensure FSMA 2017 guidelines are followed and the right measures in place. To learn more about how NexTec Group can keep your company in compliance, download the NexTec Food Brochure.