Food safety has always been a major area of focus for processors and distributors of food and beverage products. Major recalls and outbreaks that occurred during the 90’s and the 2000’s brought another perspective to the impact of not having a cohesive food safety and product recall program.
News about foodborne illness outbreaks caused by poor sanitation and food safety disseminated very rapidly and the public became very aware of the connotations and consequences of food safety issues.
Based on this, food processors and distributors have been developing and implementing their own corporate food safety programs, to not only become a good citizen by protecting the consumers, but also looking to protect their brands and companies.
Even before January 4, 2011, when President Obama signed the bill that brought the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), several worldwide organizations focused on improving and promoting food safety throughout the supply chain, but lacked the ability to enforce the application of well-known food safety initiatives and guidelines. Processors usually teamed up with companies to develop joint programs, promote research and enhance the quality and integrity of the supply chain.
There are numerous organizations worldwide that focus on implementing and enforcing good manufacturing practices applicable to food and beverage and each one targets specifics markets, products, and geographical areas. Some have been developed by countries or multi-national organizations, some by the processors themselves either jointly or as peer groups and some by universities and governments.
As a result, there is a very comprehensive list of regulations, standards and codes that apply to all aspects of the food and beverage supply chain. Becoming knowledgeable and complying with regulations is paramount for all processors and distributors. With a lack of compliance and follow up, this will prevent them from reaching their consumers and distributors both domestically and internationally. Furthermore, it can expose them to severe situations that can harm the consumers and affect their business.
This has become not just a matter of complying with codes and regulations but also a matter surviving in a very competitive market with a very sophisticated, informed and demanding consumer base.