What’s filling the email inboxes and topping meeting schedules for food processing professionals in 2018? According to Lisa Lupo, editor of Quality Assurance & Food Safety magazine, data tracking and analysis tops the list that includes:
• Learning from the most frequently cited FDA violations of 2017
• The impact rising consumer demands for natural products on the way pest management programs are delivered
• Understanding global standards in supply chain
Data Tracking & Analysis
“Data tracking and data analysis is high on the list of what food processing personnel are spending their time and resources on going into 2018,” says Lupo.
From electronic rodent-sensing equipment to being able to meet the demands for increased documentation under FSMA, data collection and its organization are part of a food plants’ daily operations.
Collecting and organizing the data is one thing, but the analysis of that data by facility managers and their pest management partners is a critical piece in designing and implementing effective food safety and pest management programs.
“Facility managers and their pest management providers use data not only to find answers on how to eliminate pest problems but how to prevent them from happening in the first place,” says Lupo. “And FSMA mandates stress prevention.”
A Closer Look at FDA Violations
The US FDA recently released its inspectional observation data report listing an overview of violations cited by the agency during routine food facility inspections through September 2017. Heading up the list were lack of effective pest exclusion and sanitation.
“Nearly 700 of the more than 4,000 violations that were issued related to pests,” says Lupo. “With pests considered a preventive control, this data tells food processors and their pest (control) providers what is catching the eye of FDA inspectors and what they need to focus on.”
The Natural Food Impact
The consumer focus on natural foods and products continue to grow as does the pressure on processors and others throughout the supply chain to design pest management and food safety programs that deliver both clean, pure labels and maintain a pest-free environment without using traditional pesticides.
Tracking Global Standards
Tracking what other countries are doing when it comes to food safety standards is another concern for food processors. The food processing industry sees unprocessed and processed food and ingredients crisscrossing the globe to feed growing populations. Tracking and documenting the safety of the food materials entering your plant is paramount and understanding what standards are used by country a must.