Food Safety Then and Now
Let’s face it, the U.S. food safety market is a very confusing place at the moment. Previously, packinghouses were obtaining food safety certification on site due to the demand of their buyers. Distributors and retailers began to ask packinghouses for some sort of G.M.P. (Good Manufacturing Practices) certification to ensure consumer safety. In the U.S. there are multiple food safety standards and many auditing agencies to choose from. Packinghouses are left feeling confused and unsure how to proceed. Which food safety standard do I choose? Which auditing agency do I work with? How do I prepare for an audit?
Now, there is an added element to the food safety world- FSMA (Food Safety Modernization Act). Packinghouses are now faced with FSMA mandated regulations with deadlines closely approaching. The leading food safety standards in the U.S. are working hard to ensure that their standards are compliant to FSMA. In the meantime, however, we can offer some guidance.
How to Tackle Food Safety Certification
If you’re a packinghouse looking to obtain food safety certification due to buyer demand, you should know whether or not your buyer is requesting a GFSI level standard. The leading GFSI standard in the U.S. for standalone packinghouses is PrimusGFS. If you do not need a GFSI level standard, one option for a basic audit is the Harmonized GAP Food Safety Standard. Once you’ve determined which standard is right for you, the next step is to pick an agency to perform your audit.
Your food safety agency will walk you through what’s needed to prepare for your audit. It’s your responsibility to organize your food safety plan on site per your chosen standard’s guidelines. Once you’re ready for your audit, an auditor will visit your site to confirm compliance.
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