Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is here…..

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is the biggest regulatory change to animal feed (which, as I found out, isn’t really a term anymore) producers in decades.

I wrote about what I thought FSMA would mean for feed producers last year (see here), and it’s still a good overview if you’re looking to begin learning about it.

I attended a seminar on FSMA recently to learn more about this new US Federal law.  Several things that the informative speakers said stuck with me.  Back to my comment in the first sentence above – as far as the regulators are concerned, “animal feed” is now “animal food”.  In fact, the FSMA “Animal Food” final ruling was published on September 17, 2015 (see here).

One of the presenters showed a graphic of the entire food production chain – making the point that what happens on the farm is directly connected to home and restaurant consumers.  It was also pointed out that the lines between animal food, pet food, and human food were less and less distinct.  For example, pet food is often kept inside the home, and children have easy access to it.  In addition, the growing popularity of urban farming, such as backyard poultry production, further blurs these lines.

How are chickens kept in your yard any different than a dog or cat?  And, many people keep the birds around as a source of eggs or meat, so the farm-to-consumer food chain concept is apparent to anyone who has never set foot on a farm.

So, what to do now?  I would recommend reading my article, linked above, regarding how to begin thinking about how to tackle FSMA if you have not already thought about this.

The worst response to FSMA is no response – the presenters made this clear, too.  Having some sort of plan can begin as simply as making a flow diagram of your operation, which would include all of your equipment.  And, your equipment companies should be able to work with you, and provide information that will help you with FSMA.  At Insta-Pro Intl, for example, we have information on the sterilizing effects of high shear, dry extrusion, and can provide this to you.  This background data, including research done by universities and published in journal articles, can support your plan for dealing with FSMA.

Don’t forget that your customer specifications and historical data can be very helpful with FSMA, too.  If you have a plan for making product with specifications demanded by your customers, document these procedures (testing incoming loads of ingredients or finished product before it leaves, as examples) and keep these records.

As FSMA is here, take steps now to be compliant.  Please contact me, Dr. Dave Albin (515-254-1260), about a potential consulting arrangement for guidance and ideas to help with FSMA.

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