Food safety is the frozen food industry’s highest priority. Throughout every facet of our industry, companies are now working to navigate the new food safety landscape forged by the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
From food producers to warehouses, to distributors and shippers, companies are exploring what steps they need to take to ensure their facilities are ready for the new rules, requirements and obligations created by FSMA.
Indeed the FSMA spotlight is very bright at the moment, with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) having recently begun a series of public hearings meant to help guide the agency’s FSMA implementation efforts.
FDA FSMA action so far this year has been significant. FDA in January issued two long-awaited proposed major FSMA rules covering preventive controls for human food and produce safety. Looking ahead, three additional major FDA FSMA rules are now undergoing review by the White House (see sidebar) and could be issued any day.
Given the recent, and expected flurry of FSMA activity, there is no doubt that readying for FSMA’s new food safety paradigm is a major undertaking for companies engaged in every aspect of frozen food production and distribution. Thankfully, the American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) is here to help.
As the only national trade association dedicated solely to serving the needs of the frozen food industry, AFFI has a long history of working with frozen food companies to address their most pressing needs. That’s why I’m particularly pleased to announce the launch of AFFI’s all-new “Food Safety Readiness Self-Assessment Program.”
Our unique, online tool is specifically tailored to help frozen food companies prepare for, and respond to, FSMA’s new food safety regulatory paradigm.
Our new, Web-based FSMA self-assessment program is designed to help frozen food facilities easily assess their readiness to comply with various food safety-related regulatory, quality assurance and risk management requirements. This new tool supplements the assistance AFFI has already been providing frozen food companies through Webinars and workshops to help them understand and comply with the requirements of FSMA.
AFFI developed this cutting-edge tool in partnership with the Seneca Corporation, a leading provider of business process management solutions for government and corporate clients, and with the assistance of the quality assurance professionals at several AFFI member companies. In other words, this valuable new program was developed in conjunction with frozen food companies for the benefit of the entire frozen food industry.
The tool focuses attention on preventive controls, indicating where action may be needed to ensure compliance with FSMA’s newly proposed rules. Comprehensive and easy-to-use, AFFI’s program is designed to help food facilities assess their FSMA readiness by providing a self-assessment report card that examines hazard analyses; allergen controls; sanitation; recalls; current good manufacturing practices; supplier verification; corrective actions; validation and verification; monitoring, records and recordkeeping; and training.
Once completed, the facility’s self-assessment report is immediately summarized and displayed, and a copy of the completed report is delivered via e-mail. Within moments companies get a clear picture of whether they’re ready for FSMA, and any steps they may need to take to ensure their facilities are in compliance. In other words, this tool will help you understand how your facilities measure up against FSMA from every corner of your operation.
The self-assessment questionnaire can be completed an unlimited number of times over a three-month period, and the resulting report will be updated accordingly. In addition, the tool provides links to specialized service providers who can assist your company address any shortcomings.
Access to the self-assessment tool is available through AFFI’s Web site at a cost of $45 per facility for AFFI members and $395 per facility for non-AFFI members.
Time and again AFFI members have stressed to us that food safety and FSMA compliance are their highest priorities. If it’s important to frozen food companies, it’s important to us. That’s why we’ve developed this new FSMA readiness program, and we take great pride in making it available to the entire frozen food industry.
Our newest service is an excellent example of the unique value and services available to frozen food companies only through AFFI.
For more information regarding AFFI’s Food Safety Readiness Self-Assessment Program and our other food safety resources, I invite you yo contact AFFI Vice President of Regulatory and Technical Affairs Dr. Donna Garren at firstname.lastname@example.org or (703) 821-0770.
Naasz is president and CEO of the American Frozen Food Institute. More information can be found at www.affi.org.