Food Safety Education: Why Public & Private Partners Should Work Together
Producing and delivering safe, nutritious food is a global challenge that affects every country in the world. It is also one that requires the contribution of food companies of all sizes as well as public and private partners. With the increasing demands for product variety and more sustainable food options, we are witnessing an era of complex supply chains, usually involving several large and small suppliers, both local and overseas. The implication is this: to ensure the production of safe food, all companies will need to understand their role in food safety and ensure compliance with the regulations.
What are the rules?
The Food Safety Modernization Act presents a paradigm shift in the way the American food industry approaches food safety. FSMA focuses on the prevention of foodborne illness and sets out specific rules for firms of all sizes to prevent contamination.
The foundational rules of the Food Safety Modernization Act include:
The Produce Safety Rule, which establishes “mandatory science-based minimum standards for the safe growing, harvesting, packing, and holding of fruits and vegetables grown for human consumption;”
The Preventive Controls Rule, which specifies current Good Manufacturing Practice, hazard analysis, and risk-based preventive controls for facilities that manufacture, process, pack, or hold human and animal food;
The Foreign Supplier Verification Program Rule, which requires that importers “perform certain risk-based activities to verify that food imported into the United States has been produced in a manner that meets applicable U.S. safety standards.”
Successful implementation of FSMA means that companies first have to understand which rules apply to their business, and then take the steps necessary to ensure compliance.
Achieving this is no easy task. Companies of all sizes would need access to the right information, training materials, and support. Public-private partnerships can play a significant role in making this process easier.
A public-private partnership involves a collaboration between government agencies, the FDA, for example, and private-sector companies. In the article “The Role of Public-Private Collaborations in Global Food Safety,” Food Safety Magazine defines public-private partnerships as “bringing together the combined knowledge and specialized expertise of private industry, the government and education institutions to overcome shared challenges.”
When public and private partners understand the unique challenges either group faces on the path to safe food, the better prepared they are to address those challenges. Collaborations between public authorities and food operators can also speed up the delivery of food safety training, especially FSMA compliance training.
The FDA further identifies some of the benefits of public-private alliances, with regard to FSMA compliance training. Public-private collaborations for FSMA can help to:
promote training to the global community of food suppliers;
provide training opportunities to international businesses so that the food they produce meets US food safety standards;
provide the FDA with a means to work with groups that have direct access to businesses that may face unique challenges in implementing FSMA.
An example of an existing public-private collaboration initiated by the FDA is the Produce Safety Alliance (PSA), a collaboration between Cornell University, FDA, and USDA, which offers Grower Training and Train-the-Trainer courses to food businesses.
FoodLogiQ partners with many organizations that focus on providing food safety training to a wide variety of businesses within the food industry.FoodLogiQ Connect software solutionscan help you achieve whole chain traceability and ease the burden of regulation and compliance. To learn more about FoodLogiQ’s software solutions,request a demo.