What Is Food Safety
A staggering amount of people get sick and even die every year due to food related illnesses. The CDC reports that 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases.
Food safety is something that we are all responsible for in our homes, from how we keep eggs and milk, to cleaning countertops and food preparation areas.
The first National Food Safety plan was enacted over a century ago, and the most recent Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) brings greater safety to each of us consumers.
Today we will be going over something that affects almost all of us, the safety and handling requirements of food products before they get to the consumer’s mouth and specifically the newest legislation that discusses the requirements of tracking and traceability put forth by the FDA.
After reading this article, be sure to view QStock Inventory’s video on traceability reporting to make sure your food distribution business is covered!
Food Safety Standards
Each food item has it’s own recommended shelf life, storage practices, and safe handling procedures. There is even a website that monitors potential issues that will send you alerts to potentially harmful product: www.FoodSafety.gov. If you are a restaurant, store or involved in the “last mile” to the consumer, I highly recommend subscribing to ensure you have the information to act quickly.
Below are just a few items to consider. From a distribution perspective, we are usually playing with shelf life vs ripening. Often we need to keep something fresh to obtain a certain “ripeness” before it can be sold, or it has to be discounted or possibly moved to the freezer where a new metric begins.
I used to do this often with meat. Once a merchandiser might get a great purchase price on a bulk order of pork. Our geographic area doesn’t eat a lot of pork, and sales had trouble selling it. Because of this we had to set a date when we wanted to move it to the freezer to ensure quality. It lowered our margin because frozen pork was sold at a lower price, but it was the right thing to do.
Another example is bananas. Every day we moved bananas between temperature zones to bring only a pre-determined amount to a certain grade of ripening to be sure the produce was delivered to the consumer in the best possible form.
Food And Drug Administration 18,100
The FDA was formed in 1906 when Harvey Washington Wiley, a chemist, found some concerning misbranding of food on the American Market. President Theodore Roosevelt signed into law the “Wiley Act” that prohibited, under penalty of seizure of goods, the interstate transport of food that had been “adulterated”. The act applied similar penalties to the interstate marketing of “adulterated” drugs, in which the “standard of strength, quality, or purity” of the active ingredient was not either stated clearly on the label or listed in the United States Pharmacopoeia or the National Formulary
Since it’s inception, the FDA is responsible for the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy and security of drugs, biological products, medical devices, our food supply, cosmetics, and even products that emit radiation.
With a 2014 budget of $4.36 billion, the FDA regulates over $1 trillion of consumer goods, which is about 25% of American’s purchases. (src)
Some examples mentioned on the FDA website are:
- Foods, including dietary supplements, bottled water, food additives, infant formulas, meat, poultry, and egg products
- Drugs, including prescription drugs (both brand-name and generic), non-prescription (over-the-counter) drugs
- Biologics, including vaccines, blood and blood products, cellular and gene therapy products, tissue and tissue products, allergenics
- Medical Devices, including simple items like tongue depressors and bedpans, complex technologies such as heart pacemakers, dental devices, surgical implants and prosthetics
- Electronic Products that give off radiation, including microwave ovens, x-ray equipment, laser products, ultrasonic therapy equipment, mercury vapor lamps, sunlamps
- Cosmetics, including color additives found in makeup and other personal care products, skin moisturizers and cleansers, nail polish and perfume
- Veterinary Products, including livestock feeds, pet foods, veterinary drugs and devices
- Tobacco Products, including cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, roll-your-own tobacco, smokeless tobacco
QStock Traceability for FSMA
How can QStock Inventory help comply with the Food Safety Modernization Act? Simple, QStock automates the collection of the lot and serial data for food distributors and stores that data for future recall audits. Hopefully, you never have an actual audit, but you should be having yearly audits to ensure your business complies with the recall standards set forth.
We love using traceability to help your business win big box customers who require trace forward reporting. Every time we can win you more sales through efficiency and data reliance we do a dance!
Having been in your seat, I want to make sure we can make you feel confident in your businesses ability to handle the tough times as well. I want to make sure your auditors are sufficiently “wowed” by your ability to produce age old data at a moment’s notice.
For more information on the FDA FSMA please continue reading at the FSMA home page: http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/default.htm
For a FAQ about how it might affect you and your business, read the implementation questions page: http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/ucm443085.htm
Finally, to find out how you can help get traceability reporting into your business, give QStock Inventory a call today and let us put together a demo and Q&A for your team!