Category: Events

The Food Safety Modernization Act: An Undertaking in Progress

Ten years…that’s a long time, right?  But…not really.  The more I see 10th, 20th, or 25th anniversary releases of favorite albums or movies, the more I feel like time is slipping away…and ten years seems more like a blink.   So, when you consider the dichotomy of the slow and all-too-quick hands of time, it’s impressive how much has been accomplished, and yet how far we have to go in food safety since the Food Safety Modernization Act was enacted in early 2011.   

As much as it would be great to go with either a “yay” or “nay” as to whether it has been a success, like many pieces of major legislation, there have been both phenomenal strides as well as stagnation.  As food safety is a complex undertaking, involving waves of domestic and global political and trade relations, budgetary concerns, etc., the quality assurance of the Act itself can be a challenge at times.  As we’ll see though, overwhelmingly, FSMA has represented a tectonic shift in approaching food safety concerns, and has set the table (yes, that just happened) for increasing advances in the coming years.

The data suggests that we do have a long way to go.  The CDC succinctly summarized this in “Preliminary Incidence and Trends of Infections with Pathogens Transmitted Commonly Through Food — Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network, 10 U.S. Sites, 2016–2019” stating that: “The incidence of most infections transmitted commonly through food has not declined for many years.”  Although disappointing to those invested and concerned about food safety, it is important to remember that FSMA is not a stagnant absolute, existing in a vacuum of regulatory comfort.

Instead, FSMA, like food safety itself, is a continuously evolving and changing entity.  To respond to new science and to new challenges, FSMA depends on building on foundational scientific knowledge, while adeptly adjusting to the reality of challenges of the time (COVID-19 being a great example).  Though there is a long way to go, FSMA has achieved numerous outcomes that have been important to the industry and to the march towards a safer food system.   

As Sandra Eskin, of Pew Charitable Trusts, noted in a recent food safety session at IDFA’s Dairy Forum, the reality is that while FSMA is ten years old, the compliance dates established to meet the goals of FSMA are only now a few years old. This complicates our “FSMA at 10” theme a bit, but we can surmise a great deal from both those years of buildup and those of ennactation/enforcement.   Here is a sampling of what has been accomplished by FSMA so far, as outlined by Deputy Commissioner of Food Safety Frank Yiannas in his “A Decade Later, FDA Still Working on Congressional Mandate Known as FSMA:”

  1. Food producers “must have food safety plans that include an analysis of hazards and risk-based preventive controls to minimize or prevent these hazards.”  
  2. Improved “regulatory oversight of produce and food importers.”
  3. Implemented practices to prevent food safety risks during transportation.
  4. Gained: “additional enforcement authorities, such as mandatory recall when a manufacturer fails to voluntarily pull unsafe food from the market and suspension of registration to prevent a facility from selling or distributing unsafe food.

To add to these and other advances, the FDA this year encouragingly released their “New Era of Food Safety” blueprint, laying out areas of development in the next decade of FSMA.   Along with increased traceability initiatives, meaningful use of technology, and business/retail model modernization, the blueprint centrally is built upon creating “food safety cultures.”  This means making food safety a shared goal by everyone in the plant, in the supply chain, and beyond—top down and bottom up investment–everyone is in on it.  This should further encourage that “tectonic shift” mentioned previously, fundamentally shifting existing perspectives on food safety in the industry.  The ability to shape the future of food safety and cultures of food safety will be dependent on education, industry/regulatory/academic partnership, collaboration, and advocacy on Capitol Hill, just as the shifting of views from reactionary to preventative action required these first ten years.  

As Dick Groves stated in his editorial in the Jan. 15th issue of The Cheese Reporter, “Simply put, the food safety culture matters more than regulations.”  Groves makes a good point about the centrality of food safety culture; however, perhaps it is a mixture of conceptual shifts and continued dependence on education and partnership to further spread the gospel of food safety and regulatory knowledge/standards (consider that not having an adequate hazard analysis is still one of the most commonly cited violations by the FDA) that will make the next ten years truly effective in the fight against foodborne illness. 

Ten years indeed can feel conversely like an eternity and a blink of an eye.  The first decade of FSMA has been an experiment in adaptation.  And it will continue to be so for the next ten, marrying the realities of regulatory standards with an embrace of a holistic framework of food safety and food safety culture at all levels (including establishing this at the federal level…which is crucial for funding).  Together we can continue to learn, improve, and work together towards this common goal.  Food safety is not a destination, it is a journey.  We must continue working together as an industry to reduce risk in the food supply chain, relentlessly combatting foodborne illness.  No matter how far we are able to push that boulder up the hill, there will always be further to go. Many hands make light work, though, so let’s all commit to the effort and make the next 10 years count.

Source(s):

Marler Clark. (2021, February 9). FDA’s data for 2020 shows top five violation categories at food facilities. Food Safety News. https://www.foodsafetynews.com/2021/02/fdas-data-for-2020-shows-top-five-violation-categories-at-food-facilities/?utm_source=Food%2BSafety%2BNews&utm_campaign=280373c947-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_f46cc10150-280373c947-40046447#.


Visit Us at CheeseExpo!

Has it been awhile since you have seen your friends at Nelson-Jameson? Well there is a great opportunity next month to catch up. Stop by our booth, #717 at CheeseExpo April 14th – 16th. The show, which is the largest dairy industry trade exposition in North America, will be held at the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee, WI.

Many familiar faces from Nelson-Jameson will join more than 3,500 processors and supplier partners in the international cheese, butter, and whey industries who will be attending the show.

We hope you are able to stop by! We always look forward to the chance to have some extra face-to-face time with our customers. Check out the link to register now. Use our promo code EXHIBITS for a FREE pass—including access to the exhibit hall, receptions, and lunches!


When it Comes to Food Safety, You Can Never Have Too Much Class…

During our conversations with regulatory folks, a common theme has developed.   Overwhelmingly, regulators have stressed the importance of a “culture of food safety”.   This means that food safety isn’t relegated to only a few individuals in a plant. Instead, a culture of food safety is one where a business has inclusively brought in ALL stakeholders, from CEOs to part-time employees to learn, practice, and respect food safety standards.   Instead of viewing food safety as only rules that have to be followed or marks to simply check off on a sheet, food safety becomes a mindset and unifying goal across the plant and across the company.

We’ve also noticed that the most effective method to create this culture is through education and practice. The more employees learn about food safety, its importance to their customers’ safety, its importance to the financial well-being of the company, etc. the more people pay attention and invest in food safety concerns.   

With all that in mind, Nelson-Jameson aims to keep our customers informed through educational opportunities to help create that culture of food safety.   Such opportunities/workshops pay off directly not only in the immediate experience of the students attending them, but also to the companies sending them when that knowledge is brought back, shared, and applied in the facility.   Here are a few of the upcoming opportunities to learn more:

University of Wisconsin-River Falls will offer a “HAACP Workshop” that is open to “all food processors, suppliers, and regulators who wish to learn or review the basics of HACCP in a food facility” March 18-20th.   The workshop will cover “ food safety hazards, prerequisites, validation of HACCP plans, implementing HACCP, and regulation” via hands-on experiences. To find out more, click here for information on the program, fees, etc.   

On May 6th, the Center for Dairy Research will host a day-long “Food Safety Workshop (HACCP)” in Madison, WI.   Also, open to a spectrum of attendees, the class is a hands-on “introduction to HACCP in a plant setting” where students will learn about topics from environmental monitoring to GMPs.   Further information is available on the CDR website.  

Keep an eye out for further food safety opportunities here on our blog.   In the meantime, we are here as well to help provide you with the products and programs that can help you reach and maintain quality and food safety standards.   


Arch Deluxe: Nelson-Jameson at IAFP

IAFP 2016 , image courtesy of foodprotection.org

IAFP 2016 , image courtesy of foodprotection.org

In the shadow of the towering Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri, Nelson-Jameson will be displaying a host of products and services at the International Association for Food Protection Annual Meeting (IAFP)! From July 31st-August 2nd, swing by the Exhibit Hall at the America’s Center Convention Complex to see all we have to offer!   Dayton, Fritz, Amanda, Barb, and Mat will be in attendance to help you check out several of our offerings, and to assist in figuring out how Nelson-Jameson can be of service in supplying your Lab, MRO, Processing, Ingredient, Packaging, and Cleaning Chemical needs!  This year, we’ll be featuring a wide selection of Whirl-Pak bags, 3M Food Safety supplies & instruments, 3M Safety products, Metal Detectable & Color-Coded products, and a host of other quality items.

Each year we look forward to IAFP, as it gives us a chance to connect with customers on the front lines in the fight for food safety. The Exhibit Hall, as well as a remarkable program of presentations, workshops, and meetings bring together an array of resources that continue to propel the industry forward in our new regulatory era. To check out more about IAFP, click here. Be sure to stop by our booth (#619) to find out more about how Nelson-Jameson take care of all of your food safety supply needs and beyond!

In addition, this year we will be featuring an INCREDIBLE drawing for 3M ATP Clean-Trace Luminometer! The 3M Clean-Trace ATP Luminometer is portable, compact, and simple to use for easy testing. The Luminometer is supplied with data trending software that allows plants to filter, sort, and chart your results for easier analysis, making you feel more secure about the decisions that are being made for your plant.

All you have to do to win this beauty is to simply come visit us at Booth #619, and drop off your business card. One winner will be drawn at random, and booth attendance at the time of the drawing is not required. The prize is currently valued at over $3,000, and is not eligible for exchange, return, or credit to Nelson-Jameson or 3M.

See you under the Arch!


Become a “Preventive Controls Qualified Individual” Today!

In Nelson-Jameson’s continued commitment to provide industry professionals with the latest in food science and food safety education, we’ve partnered with Cherney Microbiological Services to offer a brand new course offering!  The upcoming “FSPCA Preventive Controls for Human Food” is a class that will be of special interest to those in plant operations, and will focus on Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) compliance.  As an added bonus, Nelson-Jameson customers will receive a 5% discount, simply by mentioning “Nelson Jameson” when registering!

Image courtesy Cherney Microbiological Services.

Continuing Food Safety Education through FSPCA Preventive Controls for Human Food course

The Food Safety Modernization Act is the most extensive change to food safety laws in 70 years, shifting the industry perspective from a reactive to a proactive approach when addressing and preventing food contamination. The new regulations require specified activities to be completed by a “Preventive Controls Qualified Individual” who has “successfully completed training in the development and application of risk-based preventive controls.” The FSPCA Preventive Controls for Human Food course helps support both compliance with FSMA and provides FDA-recognized training for your designated Preventive Controls Qualified Individual. This standardized course was developed by the Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance (FSPCA) in partnership with the FDA, and the lead instructors and course content and materials are FSPCA-approved.

The FSPCA Preventive Controls for Human Food course is a great fit for quality directors, managers, supervisors and practitioners who will be responsible for managing his or her company’s Food Safety Plan under FSMA.  This course will be held March 29th-31st, 2016, at Cherney Microbiological Services in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The cost is $800, but be sure to mention “Nelson Jameson” while registering to receive a 5% discount!  To register, please click HERE.