Exploring the Recent U.S. and Global Food Safety Developments and Expectations for 2019

As we move closer to 2019, it’s worth remembering the regulatory changes, world news, and company updates that happened in 2018, even as we look forward to the changes coming with the new year.

Updates on FSMA Final Rules Compliance Dates –

The 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) has been focusing on a developing a prevention-based food safety system for combating foodborne illnesses, in great part, by ensuring that qualified food facilities comply with one or more of the seven published FSMA Final Rule requirements. More importantly, by Sept. 17, 2018, all qualified facilities were supposed to comply with 21 CFR 117 regulatory requirements or particularly, the FSMA Final Rule for Preventive Control of Human Food (PCHF).

Upcoming 2019 FSMA Final Rule Compliance Dates:

1. Produce Safety, January 28

Small farms for other produce and very small sprout farms must comply by this date.

2. Foreign Supplier Verification Program, March 18

Importers of human food from very small business foreign suppliers, importers of animal food from small business foreign suppliers, and importers of animal food from very small business foreign suppliers subject to PCAF CGMP Requirements.

3. Intentional Adulteration, July 26

Large businesses must comply by this date.

4. Foreign Supplier Verification Program, July 29

Importers of produce from small business foreign farms required to comply with Produce Safety Rule and importers of sprouts only from very small business foreign farms that comply with the Sprout Requirement of Produce Safety Rule must comply by this date.

5. Preventive Controls for Animal Food, September 17

Very small businesses subject to PC Compliance, which marks the date when all qualified facilities must comply with this rule.

For specific details on the FSMA regulations, please refer to the FDA website, www.fda.gov and also the FSMA Final Rules Key Dates link at: https://www.fda.gov/downloads/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/UCM568798.pdf

Key Version Releases of Global Food Safety Standards

Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) is a leading collaborative platform that brings together key actors of the food industry to drive continuous improvement in food safety management systems around the globe. One of GFSI’s objectives is to provide a benchmark of equivalence and convergence between various food safety management system certification standards. Currently, GFSI Benchmarking Guidance Document Version 7.2, which was released on March 2018, is being used. Below are the most recent developments regarding the key GFSI Certification Programs.

FSSC 22000, Version 4.1

Auditable date: Jan. 1, 2018

Launched in July 2017, the new standard version included unannounced audits and food fraud prevention clauses.

SQF Food Safety Codes, Edition 8

Auditable date: Feb. 2, 2018

The new SQF edition has code standards developed for each level along the food supply chain from primary production to food retail.

ISO 22000:2018, 2018 Version

Publication date: June 2018

Apart from some clause changes, the fundamental difference when compared with 2005 version is the use of consistent High-Level Structure (HLS) that’s also found in other ISO programs.

SQF Fundamentals, Edition 1

Publication date: June 2018

The program is for small or medium suppliers who don’t have a robust system in place or who want to take their food safety program to the next level. The Fundamentals program is available for food manufacturers and primary producers.

IFS Food, Version 6.1

Auditable date: July 1, 2018

The new version is aligned with the April 2017 GFSI Guidance Document. It has an entirely new section dedicated to the prevention of food fraud.

BRC Global Standard for Food Safety, Issue 8

Auditable date: Feb. 1, 2019

This new issue, published in August 2018, is an evolution from previous standards in that there is a strong emphasis on management commitment, a greater focus on HACCP-based food safety programs and quality management systems, a further development of food defense and fraud programs, and an expanded requirement for environmental monitoring of pathogens in food production facilities, among other concerns.

For more details about GFSI and the benchmarked certification programs, refer to the site: https://www.mygfsi.com/

Food Safety News Wrap-Up for 2018

A significant number of food safety events happened in the U.S., as well as globally.

2018 has been a busy year for various multi-state food illness outbreaks and recalls; some of these include:

  • Shelled eggs potentially contaminated with Salmonella Braenderup
  • Ready-to-eat deli ham contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes
  • Romaine Lettuce contaminated with E. coli 0157:H7

This year also saw the worst documented global Listeriosis Outbreak within the Republic of South Africa. Over a period of 14 months, 1,056 cases were reported and 214 deaths were attributed to the outbreak. The South African Department of Health identified the source of the outbreak was a ready-to-eat sausage known as Polony that came from Enterprise Foods in Polokwane, South Africa. This crisis has further heightened the need for faster detection, environmental monitoring and control, and Listeria prevention strategies within the global food supply network.

On an additional note, on June 13, 2018, Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) published the much-awaited Safe Food for Canadian Regulations (SFCR), Canada’s answer to a modernized, prevention-based food safety system, that’s more aligned with FSMA. The regulations are scheduled to come into force next year, on January 15, 2019. As a relief, among the changes is the fact that Canadian food businesses exporting foods that are regulated by the FDA can now leverage their valid SFCR license to demonstrate that their food safety controls meet their U.S. importer’s requirements under FSMA Foreign Supplier Verification Program. More information is available on the CFIA site at https://www.canada.ca/en/food-inspection-agency/news/2018/06/making-food-safer-and-creating-more-trade-opportunities-for-businesses.html

Important Company News

Remco’s Business Development team achieved SQF Edition 8 Practitioner qualification with the hope that the team will be able to pass along valuable knowledge and better recommendations to Remco’s customers. The employees were trained as a group by an in-house food safety specialist who is also an FSPCA Preventive Controls for Human Food Qualified Individual. For more details see: https://remcoproducts.com/remco-employees-achieve-sqf-8-practitioner-qualification/

Remco Products and Vikan have added three new colors (lime, gray, and brown) to 35 of our most popular products over the next several weeks. Vikan will produce 24 tools, including brooms, brushes, buckets, handles, and squeegees. Remco will make 11 tools, including scoops, scrapers, and shovels. A Color-Coding Toolkit has been recently released to provide more information to our customers.

 

We look forward to providing you with of-the-moment food safety news and recommendations in 2019. Please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn for the latest from Remco Products.