It’s 10 p.m., do you know where your cabbages are?
Seriously, Michael McCartney of QLM Consulting, a long time friend of the Packaging Revolution and respected thought leader in the areas of reusable transport packaging, RFID, traceability and food safety, has been in the news recently with respect to the Food Safety Modernization Act. He participated in a Packer interview, and wrote an opinion piece for the January 21 edition of the Food Chemical News.
“No longer will FDA be asking the food industry to comply with rules,” Michael wrote in FCN. “Now the agency has the power to demand food recalls, immediately shut down a nonconforming business, subpoena records, impose fines and monitor what it requires.”
FDA clearly now has big, sharp teeth. Hazard assessments are now required to consider the introduction of unintentional hazards, as well as intentional hazards, such as acts of terrorism. Companies, McCartney reported, must include in their food safety analysis a food security and defense plan. Growers will need to keep the perimeter of their operations secure, and run background checks on employees, as well as scrutinizing employee identification on a daily basis. (I’m thinking there are some serious growth opportunities in the security industry – RL)
“The law puts farm and food providers into the surveillance business,” Michael observed.
Traceability is an increasingly important piece of the puzzle. Michael observed that the best short term solution is still pallet tagging, with package level tracking next in queue.