Each year in the U.S. alone, around 48 million people are affected by foodborne illness and, according to the CDC, 3,000 people die from a food-related illness. Pathogens and bacteria can contaminate food at any step of the process from field to plate. It is a constant requirement for those in the food industry to keep environments sterile as well as clean the food at multiple checkpoints along the way.

 

Though the US is considered one of the safest food suppliers in the world, there is a push for food safety to increase through the Food Safety Modernization Act, or FSMA.

 

History of FSMA

 

Passed by Congress in 2011, after several outbreaks of food-related illness in the late 2000’s including Salmonella, and the early 2010’s seeing one of the most deadly listeria outbreaks in US history. The Food Safety Modernization Act, the greatest reform the FDA has seen in just over 70 years, was passed, thereby switching the FDA’s process from reactionary to preventative. The FDA has increased their authority inspect and the frequency in which inspections take place. Strengthening their partnership with the government, the FDA now is able to impose and ensure US food safety standards are met by foreign imports along with authorize mandatory recalls on food products.    

 

Now, nearly 7 years later, we are nearing the compliance deadline for companies labeled “very small” by the FDA with many of the last deadlines and extensions coming to a conclusion within the next few years for both foreign and domestic companies.

 

FSMA Requirements include but are not limited to:

 

Creating a Food Safety Plan (hazard analysis)

Creating a Food Defense Plan (vulnerability assessment)

Reporting foods that may cause issues to public health immediately

Registering with the FDA biannually

 

The task of meeting the new standards can be daunting for companies of any size, with those who have passed their deadline still reeling from the changes they have made and trying to catch up with further changes that have yet to come.

 

general-kinematics-toaster-conveyor

 

General Kinematics can offer equipment to help make the most sterile process a reality and cut down on vulnerabilities caused by porous material processes such as belt conveyors. GK uses stainless steel troughs and screens to create a sterile environment for any materials whether it needs to be conveyed, dried, cooled, heated, or lifted: GK has belt-free options to cut down on contamination.

If you are looking for a unique process solution or need help getting your process to FSMA standards, call a GK engineer today and get your process going!

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