Customers in today’s society are educating themselves on food safety and regulations in regards to their local supermarkets. What they may not be aware of is supplier, transportation, and warehousing procedures that the product must go through before it gets placed on the store shelves. With recent health recalls (Dole, Blue Bell, etc.) the US Government and the FDA are cracking down hard on food suppliers and implementing FSMA. By April 2017, the majority of all food suppliers will either need to be on board with these safety regulations or close their doors and noncompliance can lead to major penalties. The real struggle is not the process, but the regulations that need to be met.
FSMA (Food Safety Modernization Act) transportation compliance will be in full effect as of April 2017. FSMA will focus on larger transportation companies and work their way down. Majority of large transportation companies are changing current procedures. From research and studies, researchers found that more than 50% of companies are undertaking these major steps utilizing internet resources, while nearly 30% are seeking external guidance. Once FSMA is rolled out, all parties involved in the supply chain will be held accountable. Vendors, shippers, receivers, and carriers will all need to maintain documentation that detail any time product is handled, all temperature recordings throughout the life of the product, as well as the use of clean and sealed trailers. Documentation is a key factor in meeting FSMA requirements. In fact, FSMA compliance requires that all documentation have the ability to be provided within 24 hours in the case of an audit by FDA. Luckily, most companies say that they can currently retrieve documentation within the time frame, and half of all companies foresee the ability to be audit ready when FSMA is enacted.
What does your company have set in place? For example, Blue Ribbon Transport(BRT), a 3PL organization based in Indianapolis, IN, is fully FSMA compliant and is taking steps to stay ahead of their competition. With partnerships ranging from large produce distributors, large dairy manufacturers, to SQF Certified (Safe Quality Food) storage facilities, BRT knows the industry from supplier to end customer. Blue Ribbon Transport holds its carriers to a higher standard and provides a customer satisfaction guarantee. In addition to this groundwork, Blue Ribbon also offers consulting services regarding FMSA compliance as a resource for its customers. Ultimately, companies will need to do research, understand the new procedures, and ask the questions before FSMA goes live. Food safety regulation changes are on the horizon, and everyone must be on board when FDA puts them into effect.