What’s the difference between a food safety inspection and an audit? And what does that mean for the packaging materials and processes at your facility? Expert Gary Kestenbaum provides guidance to avoid misunderstandings.
Packaging has a direct impact on food safety and fast response to safety problems. Cleanliness in the plant is paramount and most packaging facilities abide by current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMPs), as well as by Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) guidelines, both designed to minimize risk. Filler machines specifically suited to a specific food can also impact safety, whether the issue is maintaining cold, heat or sterility. The food package itself can protect food from external factors that can impact safety.
If a product is adulterated and a recall is needed, it’s time and cost effective to be able to identify just the shipments affected. Many food manufacturers have actively been instituting various track-and-trace programs, from setting up an effective coding operation on the packaging line to investigating new options in secure software.
In the U.S., various federal agencies are responsible for ensuring the safety of our food supply.
The Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) is the public health agency in the U.S. Department of Agriculture responsible for ensuring that the nation's commercial supply of meat (excluding game meats, such as venison), poultry, and egg products is safe, wholesome—and correctly labeled and packaged.
However, the Food and Drug Administration is the federal agency that is responsible for overseeing most of the U.S. food supply. FDA is responsible for protecting the public health by ensuring the safety and security of the nation’s food supply; this is a critical chunk of FDA's mission and a main undertaking of FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN).
Under the leadership of FDA’s Office of Foods, CFSAN, the Center for Veterinary Medicine and the foods-related portion of the Office of Regulatory Affairs carry out the agency's unified food program that protects and promotes the public health through regulation of the safety of substances added to food. They also regulate how most food is processed, packaged and labeled.