First Day of Work
You might be wondering what we do here at Safe Food En Route, LLC? Today marks the official date that I am working on my own in 20 years of being in the food industry. Sixteen of those 20 years have been with 2 different large US retailers. And the past couple of years, I have been working on a project for a Fortune 500 company (Kroger) and monitoring compliance of vendors to the new Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP) rule recently in effect for FDA (Food and Drug Administration) regulated products. During this time specifically, US importing companies were calling to provide appropriate documents and did not understand that they were being requested by Kroger and by other retailers to sign a document stating they'd take the responsibility of FSVP. What I started noticing is that those said vendors do not understand what the responsibility means. That is when I realized I would be better serving the Kroger suppliers if I were offering this as a service.
Being in compliance to the Food Safety Modernization Act is a learning curve and the FDA is currently regulating by education. However, they did cite over 100 companies in 2017 for not being in compliance. The FDA, is also realizing that the US importing community does not fully understand what this means.
So what is in compliance mean? Basically, compliance requires having a qualified and trained food safety professional monitor the vetting of your suppliers and the products they supply into the United States before the product is imported. This includes having a formal plan written of what will happen when a supplier is controlling associated hazards with their imported foods in accordance to other FDA laws, and that corrective actions are taken and monitored.
So what products are you importing? Do you need a Food Safety Professional on your side managing your FSVP program? Based on my experience, you probably do!