US: ‘Be proactive’ about food safety
Posted: March 31st, 2012 - 11:59am
Source: Seafood Source
“Be proactive” when it comes to dealing with the new Food Safety Modernization Act — that’s the main message that panelists delivered at the final conference of this year’s International Boston Seafood Show.
The Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011 has radically changed the way seafood is sourced, distributed and imported into the United States. With the Panelists at the “Food Safety Compliance Under the New Food Safety Modernization Act of 2001” discussed the implications of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s new regulations and real-life ways to best comply with them.
“Gone are the days when — with regard to imported seafood — the importer is seen as the most responsible party. The [FDA] has recognized over the years that not just one individual is responsible for overseeing the safety of food products that are imported into the U.S,” said Ted Poplawski, FDA consumer safety officer. “All entities involved in food production ... take responsibility for assuring the safety of our foods.”
Poplawski said import safety mandates that are already in effect or will soon be include foreign supplier verification program, voluntary qualified importer program, accreditation of third-party auditors, certification for high-risk food imports, inspection of foreign food facilities, establishing foreign FDA facilities, smuggled food strategy and more.
The best way for seafood importers to comply with the long list of regulations is to be proactive and have programs already in place, including ensuring that HACCP plans are adequate and have been fully implemented, staff is properly trained and understand why controls are important and necessary, and records are well maintained and readily available.
“When it comes to records, it all boils down to you,” said panelist Dan Fone, director of business development, global food for NSF International. “Can you prove it?”