Food processors, suppliers or packagers across the nation should be aware; operations could be greatly affected by the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). These two separate initiatives represent the most radical change to the food supply chain in the last 80 years. A company’s failure to meet the requirements of FSMA and GFSI have cost the company significant revenues, and in some much worse cases, even resulted in a shutdown of operations.
Over 90,000 food suppliers in the US will be affected by FSMA, so even the smallest companies throughout the supply chain will not be able to avoid the regulations. Acting under FSMA, the FDA has already shut down a number of plants under a “guilty until proven innocent” approach.
Larger food companies have achieved their GFSI certification in one of the standards (SQF, BRC, FSSC 22000, IFS, etc.). Companies within these supply chains may have already been asked to become certified as well. Not becoming GFSI certified could result in lost business. Until recently, the process of becoming certified was difficult for smaller companies. But experts across the state are providing food manufacturers and packagers with an opportunity to educate themselves on the changes and learn how to address the present issues.
Alchemy Systems and the Illinois Manufacturing Extension Center (IMEC) have partnered to educate companies on the recent changes and to begin assessing their current state and future expectations pertaining to the regulations. The workshops are designed to cut through the mysteries of FSMA and GFSI and help chart a path for compliance. In order to address companies of all types and sizes, the workshops have been set-up to take place at various locations throughout the state of Illinois. Beginning July 9th in Chicago, the series will run July 10th in Joliet and July 11th in Bloomington-Normal, before ending on July 12thin Mount Vernon.
In the half-day workshop, companies will discover:
- What impact FSMA is likely to have on operations in the next 18 months.
- Which companies are most at risk from FSMA.
- If current recordkeeping will satisfy the FDA inspector and the GFSI auditor.
- The differences between GFSI certifications and which might be the best for a business.
- How GFSI is addressing smaller companies with limited compliance resources.
- The importance of having a published and practiced food safety plan.
- Whether current employee training meets FDA and GFSI guidelines.
- How other Illinois companies achieved GFSI certification and what they are doing to prepare for FSMA.
As part of the program, large food producers from across the state will be joining the discussion and speaking about how the regulatory changes have impacted their business and how they have adapted, internally and throughout their supply chains. Quality Assurance Managers, Operators and Production, Compliance Officers, and Continuous Improvement or Human Resources will all benefit from the information in this workshop, and executive management is strongly encouraged to attend, as these requirements affect nearly all aspects of the operation.
Still not sure if this program is right for a particular organization? Here are a few questions to consider:
- Does the company have a documented and practiced food safety plan? If so, does it meet FSMA and GFSI requirements?
- Are production, process and training records easily producible for an FDA or GFSI inspector?
- Does every line employee know how to answer questions from an auditor or inspector?
- Did the company know that GFSI and some of its certifications have a special 3-year ramp-up for smaller companies to make it easier to achieve certification?
- Are there any customers asking to become certified under SQF, BRC, etc.?
- Is the company “on the front line” for the first wave of FSMA inspections?
All good things to consider, but the reality is if a producer, packager or supplier is unsure about current regulations, this series of workshops is a prime opportunity to learn more! For more information about the program, or to register, visit www.imec.org/events.cfm or contact Amy Fitzgerald, IMEC Marketing Manager, at 309-677-2977 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
IMEC was established in 1996 with the goal of improving the productivity and competitiveness of Illinois’ small and mid-sized manufacturing firms. A non-profit economic development organization, IMEC is funded in part by the National Institute of Standards and Technology/ Manufacturing Extension Partnership, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and through fees paid by Illinois manufacturers for IMEC’s services. IMEC has 13 offices statewide and 35 full-time manufacturing improvement specialists.
Alchemy Systems is the global leader in food and workplace safety training for production workers. Companies use Alchemy to increase productivity, reduce food safety incidents, and lower compliance risk. Alchemy’s unique training solution provides an interactive learning experience for production workers and enables companies to build a strong food safety culture.