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Top Priorities for FSMA in 2020

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HeavyConnect Team

Things might have slowed down over the holidays for some of us, but they certainly didn’t on the food safety and food safety regulatory front.

As 2020 gets off to a fast start, farmers and food buyers remain concerned about:

  • meeting food safety regulations
  • the cost of food safety regulations for produce and other farm products, and
  • maintaining food safety compliance in the field to ensure high-quality, safe farm products.

FSMA in the US continues to roll along with new implementation dates. This month brought a new round of regulation for farmers. Here are a few of the top implementation deadlines for the month:

  • JAN 1, 2020 (PS)1All produce types - All farm sizes eligible for qualified exemption for modified requirement in 112.6(b)(1) (label statement)
  • JAN 27, 2020 (PS)Other Produce - Large Farms (remaining water requirements)
  • JAN 27, 2020 (PS)1Other Produce - Very Small Farms (except certain water requirements)

And farmers’ concern about regulation and compliance extends far beyond the implementation of new aspects of the FSMA regulations on farms.

Food Safety Magazine conducted a survey and it was clear from the responses (Figure 3) that issues related to microbiology, environmental monitoring, and pathogen control still occupy a primary focus as roughly one in five (21%) responses included some aspect of microbiology and control. Some of the comments mentioned specific targets, such as Listeria and, specifically, control of L. monocytogenes, with several processors in the meat and protein category looking to improve their Salmonella and Campylobacter control programs, most likely in anticipation of impending regulatory and enforcement initiatives.

The second-most-mentioned priority was ongoing work to achieve compliance with basic regulatory and third-party certification. Sixteen percent of the respondents mentioned that they still had work to do to meet regulatory requirements [Food Safety Modernization Act and others], and another 12% mentioned improvements needed to achieve or maintain compliance with or expansion of third-party certifications and their audit requirements.”

HeavyConnect is hearing the same feedback from the more than 50 organizations using the HeavyConnect farm and compliance software. Customers are  operationally challenged with managing regulations, microbiology, pathogen control, and environmental monitoring in the field. They're seeking new field solutions to help them continue to deliver safe food and streamline the heavy documentation required to meet regulations and new buyer standards.

We’re also increasingly seeing buyers – like large food service companies – wanting assurance and evidence that the field regulations for food safety, food quality, and buyer standards are being well implemented. (They’re using Grower Management to manager their suppliers for real-time assurance.)

What are your food safety concerns in 2020? Please connect with us and share your thoughts which we’ll include in a future post so you can learn from your peers.

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