2016 saw a 22% food recall surge over the previous year, reaching approximately 764 total recalls in the U.S. and Canada, or more than 2 per day, according to research by Food Safety Magazine. It’s true that recalls are happening more frequently today than ever before, for reasons including stricter compliance regulations and ramped-up testing approaches. This stronger focus on testing has positively led to a greater discovery rate of contamination. This is actually a good thing because it means today’s food safety efforts are much more accurate and effective at identifying contamination and protecting the population. Nonetheless, recalls can be alarming to your customers, and the last thing you want to risk is their trust in your brand.
The Food Safety Modernization Act shifts the Food and Drug Administration's focus from reaction to prevention. Food producers are now accountable for the safety of their products. A survey by iRely found "71% of food and beverages manufacturers believe that FSMA will require changing the way they operate." This contrasts with the 44% of them who can't point to specific parts of the act that could cause problems.
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The passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) has brought about a period of "hurry up and wait" for the food production industry. It was signed by President Obama on January 4, 2011 and promised to bring sweeping change to the industry in hopes of reducing the numbers of Americans who become sick or die from unsafe food each year. But while little has changed since FSMA was passed, the FDA will be starting to enforce the new food safety regulations soon, and you have to be ready.
No one involved in food production ever wants to release contaminated food that could put consumers at risk. But without intensive testing, it can happen. In addition to performing spot tests on your food products, you should also be frequently testing your plant environment. Environmental testing plays a critical role in providing the layered defense system necessary to ensure that safe, healthy, nutritious, fresh and affordable food is produced for and delivered to customers.
If you work in a food plant, you know that food safety is a serious issue. If you're facing a food safety audit, you want to be as prepared as possible. Since the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act, food audit standards have changed, and the food plants of today need to be prepared.
A food recall can seem like a ruinous situation. However, keep in mind that hundreds of food safety recalls take place each year. By being transparent and diligent, your brand can survive one and emerge even stronger.