STiR coffee and tea magazine

Volume 5, Number 3

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STiR tea & coffee industry international 47 According to Sparta, about 43% of respondents predicted that FSMA's pas- sage would ultimately lead to improve- ments in visibility and safety throughout the supply chain. On the question of au- tomation — considered a key component in managing FSMA compliance for track- ing and reporting food quality and safety — 38% of respondents said their organi- zations have manual systems, 56% said their process were partially automated, and 7% said they were fully automated. But in another poll, this one conduct- ed by SafetyChain Software and The Acheson Group, only 25% of respon- dents felt they were ready for FSMA, while 6% said they weren't ready at all, according to Food Engineering magazine. NCA's DeRupo said there's no way to quantify how much companies will have to spend in order to comply with the new rules. Food Safety Modernization Act adds thousands of new rules "It might be costly in some cases," he told us. "It's going to be burdensome on some importers, warehouse companies, and in some cases transportation companies, because these rules are probably new to them, whereas manufacturing plants have had HAACP plans in place, so for them the change won't be so drastic." Under FSMA, DeRupo said, coffee importers "will be re- quired to verify their suppliers, so if there were problems, there's a chance of legal liability on their part. This statute is aimed at all facilities that pack, hold, ship, and warehouse food. FSMA now makes these facilities responsible for the safety of the food they handle — whereas before they could essentially pass along the products without taking responsibility." NCA has about 350 member companies, which account for 95% of the US coffee industry. DeRupo said that since Jan. 3, 2011 — when the statute itself was first signed into law — his organization has filed multiple sets of formal comments with FDA to limit FSMA's negative financial and logistics impact on the coffee industry. "From very early on, we've emphasized the fact that coffee should be given special treatment as a low-risk commodity and should appropriately be accorded a lower level of scrutiny be- cause coffee doesn't spoil and cannot be consumed raw," he said. "We've made that point all along." NCA points out that under the new rules, facilities must re- new their FDA registrations every two years — an amendment to the Bioterrorism Act of 2002, which merely established a re- quirement that food facilities register with FDA. "Our members are a little concerned about being ready for compliance," he said. "I've not heard any specific complaints about cost. Rather, it's that these rules are coming, and they're not quite sure how to comply without ending up getting fined." To help its members, NCA has conducted several webinars on the topic and put together training sessions at its conventions. It is also working on additional formal training programs to help the industry prepare for FSMA compliance come September. Photos by Larry Luxner

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