On July 26, 2013, FDA issued proposed regulations that would greatly strengthen the oversight of foods imported for U.S. consumers. Under the Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP) regulations, importers would be required to perform certain risk-based activities to verify that food imported into the United States has been produced in a manner that provides the same level of public health protection as that required of domestic food producers. The FSVP regulations would implement section 301 of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
While travelling between factories in a hot country, I repeatedly noticed open milk tankers with no apparent refrigeration, bouncing along rough open roads and frequently stopping at the roadside to collect milk from open churns. The farmers and tanker drivers had improvised a creative, but not food-safe, method to ensure the milk passed dairy intake checks. Their modus operandi highlighted a food safety risk that could be overlooked.
As a food business, it is essential that you appreciate an ingredient’s complete supply chain all the way from field to your processing site. By knowing about its ‘journey’ you will be better placed to identify risks the ingredient is being exposed to – and better positioned to make sure those risks are being managed.
Many supply chains contain multiple steps which make it more difficult to gain full understanding.
This complexity should not be used as an excuse to hide behind.
To learn about the supply chain for a particular ingredient start with a Google search. You will be amazed at the amount of information immediately available.
And to find out more ask your suppliers. They should know!