International Food Safety: What Are We Doing to Stay In Step?


International Food Safety

Do the FPC and FSMA have effective plans in place to prevent potential cross-border food hazards?

“The most sweeping reform of U.S. food safety laws in more than 70 years.” implemented on Jan 4, 2011, was the result of a development program launched by the FDA under the Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA).

Recognizing the need for information regarding new regulatory requirements, the Food Processors of Canada (FPC) held an information session for its members on the impacts of the Preventive Control Rule. The well attended session of 50 participants represented a wide variety of Canadian food manufacturers.

Dr. David Acheson (former assistant commissioner for Food at the USFDA), and Cameron Prince (former vice-president of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency) of The Acheson Group, were invited by the FPC to provide background on FSMA.

The purpose was to highlight the main impacts of the Preventive Control Rule on Canadian food producers exporting to the U.S.

Some key points that came out of the session:

HACCP+

FSMA focuses on preventing, rather than being reactionary, to issues that can cause food-borne illness. The safety schedules apply to firms that manufacture, process, pack or hold food for humans.

These businesses are required to have written plans that identify hazards, specify the steps they’ve put in place to prevent or minimize or those hazards. In addition, they must clearly identify monitoring procedures and record monitoring results, plus specify actions to be taken to correct problems that arise.

When compared to similar HACCP and GFSI programs, there are differences in the new FSMA Preventive Controls Rule that will require companies to re-evaluate and adjust their programs.

With the Preventive Control approach, hazards related to the process, and to plant operation, are controlled under a prerequisite program that now requires the same level of diligence in:

  • Documentation
  • Monitoring
  • Record keeping
  • Corrective actions as a CCP under HACCP

The Preventive Control approach is portrayed as “HACCP+” in which Prerequisite Programs are identified as Preventive Controls requiring the same level of control as a CCP such as:

  • Cleaning and Sanitation
  • Allergen Control
  • Recall

Products That Are “Ready-to-Eat”

Processors of Ready-to-Eat (RTE) products exporting to the U.S. may are required to implement an environmental pathogen monitoring program.

If the RTE product is open to the environment after processing and before packaging, and a kill step does not follow the packaging step, an environmental pathogen monitoring program is required.

Foreign Suppliers Verification

U.S. importers must also comply with the Foreign Suppliers Verification Rule, which means U.S. importers need to verify that Canadian Suppliers are in compliance with all U.S. Rules for FDA commodities. The verification could include an audit by the U.S. importer or a third party representing the U.S. importer.

Qualified Personnel

A qualified individual is required to develop, implement, and monitor the Preventive Controls Program by the Preventative Control Rule.

This individual is known as a Preventive Controls Qualified Individual (PCQI). Although experienced food safety managers can qualify for this position, it is strongly recommended that companies have a certified PCQI on staff.

In most cases this means a QA manager will be required to take a two-and-a-half day certified training program.

What is HACCP Compliance?


What is HACCP Compliance?

HACCP stands for hazard analysis critical control point and is a management system that ensures food safety by analyzing and controlling biological, chemical, and physical hazards throughout the entire supply chain of a finished product.

What is HACCP Certified?

HACCP certification is an international standard that describes the requirements for ensuring control of food safety. Seven actions constitute this standard:

  • Conducting a hazard analysis of biological, chemical, or physical food hazards
  • Determining critical control points
  • Establishing critical control limits
  • Monitoring control of critical control points
  • Establishing remedying actions
  • Formulating and implementing procedures to verify that the HACCP system is functioning correctly
  • Record keeping

A food business can gain a HACCP certification by a reputable certification provider by undergoing an audit or assessment of its food safety policies and procedures, including:

  • Hygiene and overall cleanliness
  • Employed pest control measures
  • Safety and cleanliness of the equipment used to prepare or process food

–    Safety and cleanliness of product storage

–    Maintenance of vehicles

Why is HACCP Important?

A HACCP certification demonstrates to your customers, stakeholders, and regulatory authorities that you are committed to safe food trading or production. HACCP compliance is also mandatory for participants in the food industry in several countries, including the United States.

A HACCP certificate is also essential for a food business to be regarded as reputable and trade worthy. A company that is not HACCP certified runs a higher risk of making costly mistakes while carrying out their business activities.

Who Uses the HACCP?

Businesses don’t always obtain HACCP certificates for the same reasons. It is a condition of trade that business in the food industry, for example, food sellers and food manufacturers have HACCP certifications.

Although a HACCP certification is not a requirement for specific businesses or in some countries, many companies will make sure to have their certifications in place to mitigate risks and as a sound business practice.

What are the Most Common Critical Control Points?

A critical control point (CCP) is defined as a step at which biological, chemical or physical factors can be controlled.

Food Purchasing

Critical control point examples of food purchasing include checking suppliers, menu creation, and managing packaged and frozen foods.

Delivery and Receipt

This critical control point refers to temperature control, record keeping, and transferring food to storage after delivery.

Food Production

Food production critical control points concern food handling and preparation. Examples of food production essential points of control include allergen management, cooking, reheating, and thawing.

Service and Display of Food

There should be clean facilities to protect display food. The critical control requirements depend on whether the display is for hot, cold, or frozen food. Serving staff should also be adequately trained and furnished with clean equipment.

Food Storage

Food storage critical control points are of the utmost importance to prevent cross-contamination, bacteria growth, and temperature fluctuations. Brimich Warehousing & Logistics provides storage solutions that are HACCP compliant. Contact us today for more information.

The Nature of Cold Storage Solutions


The Nature of Cold Storage

Keeping Your Cool in Business

If ensuring your products or materials stay at a stable temperature is vital to their quality, cold storage solutions are likewise vital to your company’s success. However, not all cold storage solutions are created equally.

What is Cold Storage Used For?

Many products lose their value in normal storage conditions. These products require cold storage solutions for adequate storage and shipping.

Since cold storage is much more complex than dry storage and refrigerated warehousing tends to be expensive, many businesses opt to outsource cold storage to supply chain specialists.

If you are moving products that are temperature sensitive, you need cold storage solutions that include processing, packaging, and delivery without the products ever being exposed to fluctuations in temperature.

Cold storage is often used for products with varying shelf lives and temperature range requirements. These products include, but are not limited to:

–    Plants and flowers

–    Perishable food

–    Biopharmaceutical products

–    Perishable nutrient products

–    Artwork

What is Cold Storage in Food Preservation?

Due to the nature of certain food products, they can spoil if they are exposed to high temperatures. Not only can this result in losses, but also health hazards. Cold storage for food preservation is, therefore, an essential component of the supply chain of food businesses.

Perishable foods, including dairy products, fish products, and meats have to be kept in a temperature specification range along the entire supply chain. Temperatures higher than the required range can result in the growth of pathogens and spoilage microorganisms and can, ultimately, cause the product to be inedible.

Since the consequences of food spoilage can potentially be dire, food businesses have to ensure that they use reputable and experienced cold storage service providers to take care of their products.

Types of Cold Storage

There is a wide range of cold storage solutions from single units to entire warehouses. The types of cold storage include the following:

–    Refrigerated containers

–    Blast Chillers

–    Cold Rooms

–    Pharmaceutical-Grade Cold Storage

–    Plant-Attached Cold Storage

–    Custom Cold Storage Facilities

Companies that have a wide range of products typically have many different cold storage needs. If your products have to be stored at different temperature ranges, you may need more than one type of cold storage. Outsourcing your cold storage may be a viable solution if you don’t have cold storage facilities.

What is Cold Supply Chain?

The succession of cold storage applications along the supply chain to maintain the desired temperature is often referred to as the cold chain. If the integrity of the cold chain is breached and the risk is unknown or not reported, it can result in foodborne illnesses.

Developments in technology make it much easier and cost-effective to implement temperature monitoring and optimize stacking, which, in turn, make cold chain objectives more attainable.

Contact Brimich Logistics

Your business needs a partner to deliver the freshest food in the safest possible manner. Brimich Logistics is ideally suited to provide your business with high-end cold storage solutions along with your supply chain. We have more than 200,000 square-feet of food-grade cold storage space available.

All our facilities are Hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) compliant, and we have safe quality food (SQF) certification. Contact us today to discuss your cold storage and supply chain needs.