There are many different food safety regulations and standards in the world, some may be for specific areas or countries, but are still recognized globally. One example is the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) which was signed in to a law in the United States back in 2011.
There is also the British Retail Consortium (BRC) which was first introduced in 1998 and is an internationally recognized mark of food safety and quality. It was the first food safety standard to be recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) in 2000.
Nowadays, there are multiple standards that are recognized by GFSI, such as Safe Quality Food (SQF) standard. However, on this blog, we are going to focus only on the FSMA and BRC food safety regulations.
Application tests are an important part of HACCP plan and implementation.
Download our free white paper to learn the 8 things every food producers should know about X-ray application testing!
Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)
Much like HACCP, the purpose of FSMA is to proactively prevent any contaminations (biological, chemical or physical) in the food products. So instead of a reactive approach where the food producer has to recall a product and trace back where the contamination came from, there would be no contamination in the first place. This regulation affects food growers, producers, harvesters and processors and drives for better inspection.
FSMA requires food producers to:
- Execute a hazard/risk assessment
- Generate a written plan on how to deal with the identified contaminants (similar to HACCP Plan)
- Document the implementation and testing procedures described in the plan
- Plan the necessary corrective actions if contamination should happen
If contamination is detected, the legislation gives the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the right to issue a mandatory product recall. However, many companies who have encountered contamination have been very cooperative and issued a voluntary recall. This has been an essential change in the food industry to prevent contaminated food reaching the consumers.
British Retail Consortium (BRC) Global Food Standard
The BRC Global Food standard is food safety and quality management system and it is based on the HACCP principles. It’s a “Total Quality Management” program, which means there are requirements for food safety and quality that food producers must meet in order to be certified with BRC.
There are nine sections in this standard:
- Senior Management Commitment – this is essential in the development of a good food safety culture and is necessary for any food safety system to be effective.
- The Food Safety Plan (HACCP) – as said, the standard is HACCP-based. It requires the development of an effective HACCP plan based on the requirements of GFSI.
- Food Safety and Quality Management System – ensuring that the food producer’s processes and procedures (e.g. traceability, management of incidents, product recalls) meet the requirements of BRC standard.
- Site Standards – include things such as cleanliness and control of the site, equipment, pest control, foreign object controls and site security.
- Product Control – allergen management, product and ingredient provenance, product packaging, inspection and testing.
- Process Control – establishing and maintaining safe process controls, weight and volume control and equipment calibration, this also means ensuring that the documented HACCP plan is put into practice.
- Personnel Commitment – ensuring that all the personnel pay attention to their activity, training and personal hygiene standards and wear suitable protective clothing while working in the production.
- Production Risk Zones – for products that are sensitive to potential pathogen contamination and need additional controls to ensure product safety.
- Requirements for Traded Products – this is a voluntary additional section for sites that purchase and sell food products that are not manufactured, further processed or packed at the site that’s audited for the certification.
BRC Food Safety Certification is beneficial for raw material and ingredient suppliers, finished food manufacturers as well as packers of primary products, such as fruits and vegetables.
Product recalls have increased in recent years, which has brought more awareness of food safety and quality issues. In effect of this, many retailers mandate that their suppliers are certified with GFSI recognized standards, such as BRC Global Food standard. This drives the food producers and processors to implement inspection systems to protect their company and brand against recalls.
Acquire Food Safety Certifications with X-Ray Inspection
There are two main advantages when comparing X-ray systems and metal detectors as a Critical Control Point, and why X-ray is most often the best solution when applying for food safety certifications.
1. More thorough reporting and traceability that X-ray systems have to offer.
Food producers are able to:
- Save every product image for later analysis, which makes it much easier to examine the rejection reasons without damaging the packaging
- Improve traceability, when each production batch is recorded
- Analyze the production process and see, if there’s any room for improvement
When a metal detector rejects a product, there’s no way to see why it was rejected other than opening the product packaging. In a situation where there have been multiple rejections, it is not so likely that all the products are thoroughly examined, but with an X-ray system, it is easier to check the reason from the saved X-ray image.
2. X-ray systems are more flexible and offer more adaptability.
Let’s say, if something changes in your production process (e.g. packaging material), it is not a problem for X-ray inspection but can be for a metal detector. Also, when the food safety standards become stricter and more demanding (i.e. requiring the detection of non-metallic contaminants), only X-ray can provide the flexibility to keep up with the requirements without upgrading the CCP and HACCP Plan.