JAS-ANZ Attends the FSSC 2000 Harmonisation Conference

On the opening day of the FSSC 22000 Harmonisation Conference presentations from Sharon Mayl, Senior Policy Advisor with the Food and Drug Administration on the Food Safety Modernisation Act (FSMA) and Dr John Spink from Michigan State University on Food Fraud had strong audience engagement. 

Ms Mayl’s presentation highlighted the seven foundational rules for the Food Safety Modernisation Act (FSMA) that food businesses must address in ensuring compliance with food safety requirements, and the looming implementation dates falling due in 2018 and 2019.  Guidance documents have been developed to assist food businesses in understanding these requirements, such as Supplier Controls and Co-Manufacturing or Listeria in RTE Foods. Additional guidance documents are still being developed, such as on allergen management, and industry is encouraged to subscribe to the FDA website to receive notifications of new documents when they are released.

FSMA has placed greater emphasis on importers that they ensure manufacturers meet the FDA food safety standards. While businesses certified to FSSC 22000 may use this to demonstrate that they have regard to food safety, any audits undertaken for regulatory compliance must specifically have regard to FDA safety standards.

Dr John Spink outlined recent developments in the adoption of food fraud prevention requirements in government regulation, GFSI standards and in the development of a Codex Alimentarius standard. Dr Spink highlighted the need to undertake training in understanding how to identify risks and implement preventative control measures for food fraud, with free online courses available from http://foodfraud.msu.edu/ . With the introduction of requirements for companies to consider food fraud, FSSC 22000 auditors will need to consider whether a food business has conducted a food fraud vulnerability assessment, the prevention strategy that the business has implemented, whether this is reviewed annually and the scope of products covered.

Also challenging the audience in their understanding of auditor qualifications was the presentation from Jules Rojer on FSSC 22000 Auditor Qualification. Jules noted that a number of changes have been made, placing greater responsibility on CBs for qualifying and maintaining the qualification of FSSC 22000 auditors. Jules emphasised the importance of CBs maintaining records of audits and training, and updating the FSSC database. However, on the plus side, the requirements work experience and audit experience have been reduced, making it easier for CBs to qualify auditors.  With the change to version 4.1 training logs must show upgrade training requirements, and auditors must undertake a minimum of at least five on-site FSSC 22000 audits at different sites each calendar year. In this context, the stage 1 and stage 2 audits are regarded as one audit.