The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is having a profound impact on food and beverage manufacturers. In order to help food and beverage manufacturers understand the law and ensure they are in compliance, we recently hosted a webcast with Richard Ross, the CEO and Founder of PathTracer™ Laboratory and Consulting Services. With over 40 years in the food manufacturing industry, Richard has the practical experience to help food companies through the FSMA compliance process.
Richard shared the following story on the importance of leaving nothing to question when it comes to food safety:
Food safety is receiving more attention today than ever before with the regulations associated with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
A case in point: An attorney relayed a story to me about a food company in Texas that was sued by a family whose son allegedly got sick from consuming food produced by the company. The company was completely prepared to fight the lawsuit with documentation – they had both HACCP and Food Safety Plans in place and employees had completed food safety training.
The company also had documentation proving that they had tested the ingredients for pathogens and tested again during the manufacturing process. However, they did not test the finished product. It made perfect sense that if the ingredients and production process had tested clear, that the finished product would be clear, too. The jury did not agree and found for the family.
Although the FDA states that product and environmental testing needs to be “scientifically based,” they do not provide explicit instructions because every food business is unique. What should be done is to scientifically demonstrate, over time, that the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for environmental and product testing is effective and that the results are documented and retained.
It wasn’t that the company didn’t test the finished product as much as they didn’t have proof that they had made the appropriate decision based on the results of testing. They appeared to be negligent. It is important to leave nothing to question.
To learn out more on FSMA, watch our webinar featuring Richard Ross: “Food Safety Modernization Act Compliance for the Food Industry.”