Food safety experts at AIB International know firsthand how FSMA is impacting the global food supply chain. They’ve seen clients from every sector taking measures to comply with the new requirements as they’ve unfolded over the last six years.
One of the most significant effective dates for compliance with the Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food Rule took effect September 2016 for most facilities.
Stephanie Lopez, Vice President for Food Safety Services, Americas, has seen clients trying to revise their food safety plans to align with the new rule.
“Our clients are wrestling with several options,” Lopez said. “They are wondering whether they keep their existing HACCP plan, merge FSMA’s Preventive Controls requirements into their existing HACCP plan, or scrap HACCP altogether.” Exporters to the United States and those who receive certification audits under GFSI face the added complexity of needing a HACCP plan, while also ensuring that their preventive controls plan meets the FDA’s new requirements. The HACCP plan is still required by GFSI and is recognized globally.
One of the requirements of the rule is that a written food safety plan must be prepared by one or more Preventive Controls Qualified Individuals, or PCQIs. The PCQIs are charged with validating the preventive controls and overseeing the execution of the plan, and must successfully complete risk-based preventive controls training or have enough job experience to qualify.
To help clients meet this aspect of the Preventive Controls rule, AIB began offering the FSPCA Preventive Controls for Human Food course in 2016.
“The Industry has been very responsive to the PCQI training requirement,” said Gary Burgess, General Manager, North America, Food Safety Services. “In 2016, we issued 1,545 certificates for the FDA-recognized course, including to representatives of the FDA, and have seen that number continue to grow in 2017 as food plants identify and equip their preventive controls teams.”
Compliance to FSMA’s Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP) and Sanitary Transport rules is also effective in 2017 for most companies. However, there seems to be a misunderstanding in the food industry that the FSVP rule applies to companies exporting to the United States.