FSMA (Food Safety Modernization Act) is here. And it’s a big deal. It’s the greatest reform to U.S. food safety law in 75 years. Under FSMA’ s 7 rules, FDA requires that all food entities meet the same food safety standards.
So, for entities involved in imported foods (from importer to supplier), the “new” FSVP (Foreign Supplier Verification Program) rule is important.
Foreign suppliers may see it as overwhelming. But it’s important to understand that it is not all “new.” Instead, it’s an extension of what suppliers already know.
Here are 3 examples where suppliers’ existing product and food safety knowledge can help as they navigate the new rule:
From FDA-centered to Supplier-centered
The general tone of FSMA, and FSVP, is more self-governing for food entities. In other words, FDA requires the supplier to shift from responding to preventing food safety issues and contamination.
Suppliers can use what they’ve done in the past as a guide to implementing FSVP.After all, suppliers know their products best. They are the ones who know their product’s critical control points, as well as their immediate supply chain partners. And together with their importer (an expert in the nuances of FSVP), they can use that knowledge to create a supplier-centered FSVP plan.
From fixing hazards to anticipating (and preventing) hazards
With U.S. food imports sitting at around 15%, 30% for Frozen Fruit, FDA recognizes the potential
hazard of “loose” imported food regulations.
In the past, imported food entities registered with FDA and adhered to labeling laws. In the event of an outbreak, FDA stepped in.
However, with a growing demand for imported food and the challenge of preventing food-borne illness and death, FDA created the more preventive FSVP.
So, for the supplier, asking “what if” is a good place to start. The supplier knows their processes (better than anyone) and can communicate the outcome, control and prevention of a “What if?” food hazard.
From paper to electronic record-keeping
Good record-keeping has always been important. But with FSVP, FDA has a record-keeping goal in mind: to be able to retrieve electronic data quickly and easily.
This is probably the more potentially tedious part of FSVP. Under the rule, FDA can request access to records off-site. These must be provided within 24 hours and be available in English.
For some, electronic record keeping will be a significant transition. This is not a “go it alone” task for suppliers. Their importer partners understand the FDA requirement and, together, they can streamline the process.
A change in government regulations can shake up an industry. People dread the time and expense of new demands.
For foreign suppliers, FSVP requires a new way of managing their part of the supply chain. But suppliers are not alone. First, they have existing food safety knowledge specific to their processes. They can use this foundational knowledge to implement the new FSVP standards.
Additionally, their importer plays a pivotal role in helping the supplier meet FSVP requirements. The importer has a streamlined system to make the verification program as simple and painless as possible. This knowledge combination means the supplier can anticipate a smooth FSVP transition.
If you’d like to hear how Brecon Foods helps their foreign suppliers, click here.