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Top 4 Challenges Facing the Food and Beverage Industry

The food and beverage industry faced numerous challenges in 2018. As a facility manager, you might find yourself with questions about the integrity of your products and daily operations. As many food and beverage manufacturers continue to see major changes, here are 4 industry related challenges you can address to help improve your business.

4 Challenges Facing the Food and Beverage Industry

1. Maintaining Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Compliance

The passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act in 2011 marked a new era for the food industry. As the first piece of federal legislation on food safety since 1938, it gave the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) increased authority to regulate the way foods are grown, harvested and processed, with particular emphasis on prevention of foodborne illnesses.

While most of the FSMA’s rules are now fully phased in, adhering to the FSMA is a critical part of how you structure your daily operations. The first step in maintaining compliance is to know where your company stands concerning the legislation and to ensure your employees are aware of any operational requirements under the law.

For more information about maintaining compliance with food and beverage regulations, read “Food and Beverage Industry Compliance Plan.”

2. Ensuring the Loading Dock Meets Food Safety Requirements

The Safe Quality Food Institute (SQFI) update of its SQF System in particular, is an assurance that a site’s food safety plans have been implemented in accordance with the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) method, as well as applicable regulatory requirements.

As of January 2, 2018, sites with existing SQF certification will be required to upgrade their systems to meet the requirements outlined in the new edition of the SQF code. One of the key pieces to this code as it relates to the loading dock is to make sure docks “shall be designed to protect product during loading and unloading.”

3. Food Integrity In Any Environment

Quality control is a primary concern at every level in the food and beverage supply chain. Inside your facility, temperature and humidity control, as well as harbor points for bacteria and fungi pose a threat to product integrity if not properly addressed with the right equipment.

Outside your facility, food processing facilities also face product contamination challenges along their exterior, in the loading dock and on the drive approach. Open dock doors are an opportunity for outside contaminants, including:

  • Insects like Beetles, Flies, Moths, and Roaches
  • Rodents
  • Birds
  • Heat
  • Wind
  • Rain
  • Dust
  • Bacteria and other food-borne pathogens

Make sure your facility manager is diligent on having the right equipment, particularly interior freezer/cooler doors, dock doors, seals and shelters for the loading dock and air circulation systems such as HVLS fans. Proper equipment maintenance will also help reduce product integrity issues as it relates to damaged or heavily used facility equipment that may not be performing at its peak efficiency.

4. Theft, Food Tampering, and Defense

The FBI estimates that cargo theft is a $30 billion a year problem, with food and beverage being the most targeted product category in 2017. Per the FSMA and other food safety laws, even if food is recovered after a theft, it can no longer be sold.

Loading docks with unsecured trailers are increasingly becoming more and more susceptible to theft. To be in compliance with FSMA, companies must develop a Food Defense Plan for specific outside security measures, including at the loading dock.

Learn more by downloading the "Essential Guide to: Protecting Food Integrity."

The Essential Guide: Protecting Food Integrity

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