By Charles Breen, Independent Advisor for FSMA
The explosion in the numbers of new breweries is a blessing for beer drinkers and their communities. In FDA’s eye, beer is food, and while exempt from preventive control requirements, brewers must comply with good manufacturing practice regulations, GMPs.
The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is transforming the nation’s food safety system into one that is based on the prevention of foodborne illnesses by putting into place measures that will effectively prevent contamination. As any responsible grower, manufacturer, packer, and transporter know, keeping food safe to eat is paramount, no matter where it is produced, whether conventional or organic, whether the operation is small, medium or large, or whether it’s produce or process. Good Manufacturing Practices are critical to FSMA’s success.
A major new GMP component is the appropriate training of all employees to comply with GMPs. From managers to line staff, no matter the job and no matter the spoken language – everyone must understand and be able to apply those requirements that apply to their role in producing food. In FDA’s view, without this training, education and related experience, an employee is not qualified to act in their role or perform assigned duties. FSMA training encompasses everyone involved in the food industry, including domestic and foreign food producers and domestic importers.
Because the food industry, including brewers, is so varied, it is plain that a one size approach to training does not fit all. The most important goal for FDA is safe food, and the agency expects training programs to contribute to its accomplishment — that training advances knowledge in the food industry to meet FSMA requirements. Individuals must receive training in the principles of food hygiene and food safety, including the importance of employee health and hygiene as appropriate to the food, the facility, and the individual’s assigned duties.
There are a variety of FSMA training options available. FDA has a detailed webpage for many of the options including standardized trainings designed by the Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance (FSPCA) and coordinated by Illinois Institute of Technology’s Institute for Food Safety and Health which offers technical information to help the domestic and foreign food industry comply with the requirements of the Preventive Controls rules for human and animal food, as well as the rule on Foreign Supplier Verification Programs (FSVP).
Those looking for FSMA compliance training need look no further than EAS. Many EAS Independent Consultants are Lead Instructors and we offer FDA recognized training programs as part of our FSMA educational curriculum.
EAS also hosts and participates in many industry webinars discussing the various aspects of FSMA, specifics of compliance and practical steps to bring facilities and operations into compliance.
Additionally, EAS is often an invited speaker as part of technical sessions at industry events such as the upcoming IFT Annual Meeting (where EAS will be moderating two sessions on FSMA) and the recent Dietary Supplement Regulatory Summit, (where Senior Director for Food Consulting Services, Allen Sayler, spoke on which parts and how FSMA applies to the dietary supplement industry).
EAS Consulting Group is a one-stop shop when it comes to education, assessing readiness, updating GMPs and other SOPs to bring processes into FSMA compliance and more. Our FSMA team takes great pride in the breadth and depth of services we offer.
Implementing a robust training program as part of your company’s FSMA compliance is a must and EAS Consulting Group offers many tools to help you get there.