Jun 12 , 2020
The January 2020 issue of Food Processing, a trade publication we read monthly, The Food Safety section recounted the Top 10 food safety issues of last year. These regulatory issues that made the news and affected the food manufacturing industry were by nature heavily associated with FDA and USDA, and included reference to listeria and E. coli outbreaks, as well as foreign objects recalls, all of which have increased in recent years- or some would argue the ability to get the word out about such events has increased.
Item #10: Regulators in UK are increasing their focus on allergens, on the heels of three recent food allergy-related deaths, and the article warned that food facilities here in the US should keep an eye out for the same here.
Then came Covid-19.
Recent food news harks to a disrupted supply chain, as with temporary closures of meat plants and an increase in consumers stocking up, as well as concerns about the lifetime of the coronavirus on surfaces- though FDA has reported unawareness of any cases of food or food packaging spreading the virus. And recently, as we reported a couple weeks ago, related to potential supply chain disruptions, FDA has issued guidance that provides temporary flexibility to substitute ingredients without listing changes on ingredients labels.
Over the past several months, food safety issues have shaped up to be somewhat different from what we were told were the hot ones back in January.
Just in this morning from SQFI (Safe Quality Food Institute), on World Food Safety Day last Sunday WHO Africa Region Food Safety Director Matshidiso Moeti called for the supply chain to focus more on food safety at every stage of the process, from farm to fridge, so to speak. Moeti cited a need to help stop the spread of coronavirus by implementing safe distancing practices at markets, as well as within manufacturing facilities, where spread can affect, as in the case of meat plants here in the US, the capacity of a facility to remain open, and food chain disruptions affect food security.
Food safety and security are critical elements of consideration in responsible planning and implementation of food manufacturing processes. In fact, next week we will be undergoing our third annual SQF food safety audit at the bakery. A representative of a certifying company will walk through our facility and check every part of our premises and processes, as well as our documentation, from management commitment policies, through GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) to the logs we use to document every step along the way for our desserts from the time ingredients enter the building until the time the finished product leaves.
We had hoped to schedule our food safety consultant to join us for our weekly Lunch'N Watch live stream on Facebook next Wednesday, but she has been scheduled to conduct an audit elsewhere, so we will get her on the schedule for a later date. Meanwhile, we'll let you know how we do in our audit next week (while nobody is perfect, we have passed with high marks in all our third party food safety audits since beginning to implement those in 2015) and on our gluten free certification audit the following week. And we welcome you to participate in Lunch'N Watch on Wednesdays at 12:15 pm MT, where you can ask questions in the chat box- or just be in touch by phone or email if you have questions about our food safety practices.
With commitment to your safety,
Lisa Cox, CEO/ SVP Sales & Marketing