Blog

27 Jan
Food Safety Trends 2022
Food Safety: Top Trends to Watch in 2022

The food system and supply chains continue to change and evolve at an accelerated pace. That introduces new risks and challenges—and heightens some familiar ones. As we move into 2022, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues to strengthen its focus on the four core elements of its New Era of Smarter Food Safety to address several ongoing challenges in food safety. In addition to those identified in FDA’s New Era, KTL’s food safety experts have identified some of the key trends they are tracking in 2022—along with some guidance on how to prepare for the future.

Food Traceability

Food traceability is the ability to track any food through all stages of the supply chain—production, processing, distribution—to ensure food safety and operational efficiency.  There is a real need for standardization, stronger linkages throughout the supply chain, improved communication and recordkeeping, and faster response. Notably, one of the core elements of FDA’s New Era is Tech-Enabled Traceability, which involves the use technology to create food traceability advancements. Under this, FDA has taken several actions to reduce foodborne illness:

  • The proposed Food Traceability Rule was published on September 23, 2020, as required under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Section 204(d), to enhance traceability recordkeeping for certain identified foods beyond a limited “one-up, one-back” traceback approach. The final rule must be submitted by November 7, 2022.
  • FDA’s 2021 Foodborne Outbreak Response Improvement Plan sets the stage to “enhance the speed, effectiveness, coordination, and communication of foodborne outbreak investigations” through tech-enabled product traceback, root cause investigations, stronger analysis and dissemination of outbreak data, and operational improvements.

To prepare: Familiarize yourself with FDA’s proposed rule. Review the Food Traceability List (FTL) and start building systems and processes now that address requirements for traceability lot codes, critical tracking events (CTEs), key data elements (KDEs), and recordkeeping.

Food Safety Culture

An organization’s food safety culture is ultimately reflected in the way food safety is managed in the workplace. A strong food safety culture creates an atmosphere where everyone in the organization is aware of and helps to prevent any process and/or operational issues and deviations that may impact the safety and/or quality of their products. Food safety culture is another core element of the FDA’s New Era. It is also a key component of the GFSI Benchmarking Requirements Version 2020 and, subsequently, is being integrated as a requirement into many of the benchmarked food safety certification standards. Best-in-class food safety cultures have robust systems in place to ensure consistent commitment, communication, procedures, training, performance measurement, and trust.

To prepare: The incorporation of food safety should translate to all aspects of the business. Assess current food safety program elements, identify improvements that are internally desirable and required, and implement those updates that will create a strong food safety culture. 

Sustainable Food Management

Wasted food makes up the largest percentage—over 20%—of any one material sent to landfills and incinerators each year in the U.S. With more customers and businesses focusing on making sustainable changes, food businesses need to work hard to ensure less food is being wasted. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), sustainable management of food is “a systematic approach that seeks to reduce wasted food and its associated impacts over the entire lifecycle, starting with the use of natural resources, manufacturing, sales, and consumption, and ending with decisions on recovery of final disposal.” The EPA, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and FDA joined forces to address the magnitude of wasted food impacts across the U.S. through the U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champion program. Efforts to promote sustainable food management have also extended to the state level.

To prepare: A thorough food and packaging assessment can help identify appropriate strategies to avoid waste, cut down on disposal costs, reduce over-purchasing and labor costs, reduce water and energy use associated with food production, and reduce GHG emissions. Based on the outcomes of the food waste assessment, there are some common strategies for reducing wasted food and packaging.

Health & Safety and Environmental Focus

During the pandemic, businesses had to find new ways of working to ensure health and safety. Employee protection will remain a top priority, particularly with potential increases in Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) funding to make improvements in workplace safety protection for American workers, as well as significant increases in OSHA’s maximum penalties. In addition, 2021 brought a significant uptick in EPA multi-media inspections, enforcement actions, and large penalties for violations, particularly related to anhydrous ammonia storage, risk management, and chemical accident prevention planning. Anhydrous ammonia is widely used as refrigerant in food facilities, including meat, poultry, and fish processing facilities; dairy and ice cream plants; wineries and breweries; fruit juice, vegetable juice, and soft drink processing facilities; cold storage warehouses; other food processing facilities; and seafood processing facilities aboard ships.

To prepare: Make sure you have the processes, programs, and systems in place—and documented—to ensure you are always protecting employees’ safety and health and meeting OSH Act requirements. If your facility uses anhydrous ammonia, you must understand the hazards posed by chemicals at the facility and design and maintain a safe facility to prevent accidental releases.

Compliance Efficiency Tools

Managing the complexities of a management system is challenging. That is because every regulatory agency (e.g., FDA, USDA, OSHA, EPA) and voluntary certification (e.g., GFSI-benchmarked standards, gluten-free, organic, ISO) calls for companies to fulfill compliance requirements—many of which overlap. Supply chain and internal requirements can create further complications and confusion. And more frequently than not, companies may not understand or have the resources to manage everything that needs to be in place to satisfy requirements. This is an area where compliance efficiency and tracking tools are becoming essential to allow companies to do more with fewer resources.

To prepare: An integrated compliance management system (CMS) is intended to bring various tools together to create one system that effectively manages compliance requirements, enables staff to carry out daily tasks and manage operations, and supports operational decision making by tracking and trending data that is collected daily by the team charged with implementation.

Food Fraud

In May 2016, FDA issued its final rule on Mitigation Strategies to Protect Food Against Intentional Adulteration (IA). While this is not a new rule, supplier approval/verification programs, vulnerability assessments, and written food defense plans will remain a key focus as a surge in food demand and lack of supply has created an environment ripe for food fraud. It is likely that FDA IA inspections could also ramp up, especially when more onsite inspections resume.

To prepare: Develop a food defense plan. This should include conducting a vulnerability assessment and developing the required programs to remove the risks of IA and food fraud.

Others to Watch…

  • Food Irradiation. Food irradiation is a food safety technique used to kill pathogens, including bacteria, viruses, and parasites, and extend shelf life. Irradiation provides excellent safe food processing. FDA continues to research and approve irradiation for a variety of foods. Despite consumer resistance, expect this trend to continue.
  • Food Investments. We are seeing more and more private equity firms investing in food companies and, subsequently, in their food safety infrastructure. Food safety is a critical factor in these acquisitions. Expect a thorough assessment of the condition of operations (i.e., personnel, equipment, processes, plant); level of food safety compliance/certification status; and any other potential risks that would impact the transaction.
  • Cannabis. The regulatory framework for managing cannabis production is still murky. However, this is a rapidly growing market, and we anticipate progress—whether at the state level or federal level—in the development and implementation of regulations and controls (e.g., Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs), labeling requirements, etc.).
  • Labeling. COVID significantly increased the number of new food preparation and delivery/takeout services and ready-to-eat (RTE) food products. These new business models heighten the importance of appropriate labeling, particularly regarding allergens and instructions for safe food production.

Set Your Goals for 2022

As FDA continues to push its New Era of Food Safety forward and new challenges surface, it is important to understand the current landscape, set priorities, and commit the appropriate resources to ensure long-term sustainability. Consider undertaking the following activities:

  • Implement a CMS to help coordinate, organize, control, analyze, and visualize the information necessary to remain in compliance and operate efficiently.
  • Conduct third-party assessments to provide an outside perspective of food safety systems and compliance/certification to identify gaps in programs that need development/updates.
  • Explore technological advancements that allow for further digitization and promote more timely and accurate collection and management of important data.
  • Conduct root cause analysis, as needed, to identify underlying issues and ensure similar problems do not occur in the future.
  • Build a strong food safety culture that focuses on changing from a reactionary to a preventive mindset that promotes safety and quality.

If you would like help evaluating your currently food safety risk level and assessing your priorities for 2022, please contact KTL. 

01 Dec
bioforward member blog
BioForward Member Blog: KTL Building Scalable Systems to Help Businesses

BioForward Wisconsin closely follows news stories about its members and invites them to contribute blogs and profiles to inform and advance the Wisconsin biohealth community. Read the recent BioForward Wisconsin member blog on KTL’s scalable systems for helping companies manage compliance business processes more efficiently and effectively.

14 Oct
Creating Sustainable Impacts Part 4: Food Recovery Challenge

As discussed in Part 3 of KTL’s series on Creating Sustainable Impacts, wasting food has impacts on the sustainability of our economy, our society, and the environment. Whether it comes from filling landfills, contributing to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, consuming valuable resources, or contributing to food insecurity, the magnitude of these impacts is substantial.

Food loss occurs at every stage of the supply chain—from farm to table. How that loss is managed plays a vital role in how it impacts our society. Federal and state regulatory agencies are taking notice of this and incenting—or requiring—organizations to incorporate sustainable food management practices into their operations.

Joining Forces to Address Wasted Food

In 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) joined forces to address the magnitude of wasted food impacts across the U.S. through the U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champion program. This joint initiative includes more than 35 member organizations that have made a public commitment to reduce food loss and waste in their own operations by 50% by 2030. This commitment to sustainable food waste management aligns directly with the United Nation’s (UN’s) Sustainable Development Goals.

The Food Recovery Challenge offers participants access to data management software, as well as technical assistance to help them quantify and improve their sustainable food management practices. Participants create data-driven goals, implement targeted strategies to reduce wasted, and report food waste diversion data. They then receive an annual climate profile report that translates their food diversion results into GHG reductions, as well as other measures to help demonstrate the benefits of activities implemented.

The ultimate goal of the Challenge is to encourage organizations to use materials more productively over their entire lifecycle through actions that reflect the food recovery hierarchy, including source reduction, donation, feeding animals, industrial uses, and composting, to divert and prevent food from entering landfills.

Efforts to promote sustainable food management have also extended to the state level. California Senate Bill (SB) 1383 is currently the most far-reaching state-level wasted food legislation. The bill mandates a 50% reduction in organic waste disposal from 2014 levels by 2020 and a 75% reduction by 2025. In addition, SB 1383 requires that not less than 20% of edible food that is currently disposed be recovered for human consumption by 2025. The enforcement provisions of the SB 1383 regulations become effective on January 1, 2022.

Harvesting the Benefits

Transitioning to an organization that champions and promotes sustainable food management requires a culture change across the entire entity, not just a single person or department. That is because the potential to create positive impacts—financial, community, environmental—span the entire food supply chain. Wasted food is a problem on many levels. Sustainable food manage provides the opportunity to not only solve that problem, but deliver many benefits:

  • Financial
    • Pay less for trash pickup by keeping wasted food out of the garbage.
    • Receive tax benefits by donating safe and edible food to those who are food insecure.
    • Spend less—and waste less—by buying only food that will be used.
    • Reduce costs (e.g., energy, labor) associated with throwing food away.
  • Societal
    • Feed the people who need it by donating food to hunger relief organizations.
    • Create job opportunities; food recycling employs more than 36,000 people.
  • Environmental
    • Reduce methane emissions by keeping wasted food that rots and produces methane gas out of the landfills.
    • Save the resources required to make food that ends up wasted (e.g., water, gasoline, energy, labor, land).
    • Return nutrients to the land by composting wasted food to make healthy soils.

Through sustainable food management, it is possible to help businesses and consumers save money, create outlets for those in our communities who do not have enough to eat, and conserve resources for future generations.

23 Sep
Food Safety Consortium KTL
Food Safety Consortium: KTL Presentation on How to Respond to Recalls

The Food Safety Consortium Fall Edition is kicking off this October with five weekly sessions featuring critical thinking topics that have been developed for both industry veterans and knowledgeable newcomers. KTL will be a featured presenter during the Recalls: Trends and Analysis episode on Thursday, October 14:

How to Respond to Recalls
Thursday, October 14
1:10 pm – 1:55 pm ET (includes Q&A)
Presented by KTL Senior Consultant Roberto Bellavia

22 Sep
Sustainable Food Management
Creating Sustainable Impacts Part 3: Sustainable Food Management

Wasted food makes up the largest percentage—over 20%—of any one material sent to landfills and incinerators each year in the U.S. This large volume of disposed food is a main contributor to total U.S. methane emissions, a greenhouse gas (GHG) with 21 times the warming potential of carbon dioxide. Financially, wasted food costs America more than $100 billion annually from disposal costs of municipal waste management, over-purchasing costs, and cost of lost energy. And all this wasted food is happening when nearly 40 million Americans are food insecure.

In short, wasting food impacts the sustainability of our economy, our society, and the environment—also known as the triple bottom line of sustainability. But through sustainable food management, it is possible to help businesses and consumers save money, create outlets for those in our communities who do not have enough to eat, and conserve resources for future generations.

 

Wasted Food and Food Loss

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) uses the term wasted food instead of food waste to describe food that is not used for its intended purpose. This terminology conveys the notion that a valuable resource is being squandered. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Economic Research Service (ERS) further defines food loss as the “edible amount of food, postharvest, that is available for human consumption but is not consumed for any reason.”

Food loss occurs at every stage of the supply chain—from farm to table. How that loss is managed plays a vital role in how it impacts our society. That is where sustainable food management comes to play.

 

What Is Sustainable Food Management?

According to EPA, sustainable management of food is “a systematic approach that seeks to reduce wasted food and its associated impacts over the entire lifecycle, starting with the use of natural resources, manufacturing, sales, and consumption, and ending with decisions on recovery of final disposal.”

Sustainable food management is essentially a subset of sustainable materials management (SMM). As with SMM, the best approach to reducing food loss and waste is to not create it in the first place. Source reduction is the most effective way of reducing the environmental and financial impacts of wasted food and packaging because it prevents unneeded materials from ever being created. To do so is a process that involves performing a food waste assessment—much like an SMM lifecycle analysis (LCA)—to identify what and how much food (and food packaging) is being wasted.

A thorough food and packaging assessment serves as the foundation for reduction efforts. Having this general understanding can help identify appropriate strategies to avoid waste, cut down on disposal costs, reduce over-purchasing and labor costs, reduce water and energy use associated with food production, and reduce GHG emissions.

Based on the outcomes of the food waste assessment, EPA suggests some common strategies for reducing wasted food and packaging, which may include the following:

 

  • Adjusting food purchasing policies to reduce excess food purchasing (i.e., use just-in-time purchasing, purchase items in bulkfood-recovery-hierarchy to reduce packaging).
  • Storing and organizing food properly to reduce spoilage.
  • Repurposing leftover food following food safety guidelines.
  • Reducing to-go/takeout item packaging and using compostable/recyclable packaging.
  • Reducing portion size of regularly wasted items.
  • Using a system to identify over-purchased food items and to track wasted food.
  • Continuously training staff on basic steps to minimize food waste (e.g., cooking and food preparing to reduce wasted food, plating practices).

If excess food is unavoidable—and sometimes it is—reusing leftover food is possible as long as food safety guidelines are followed. The food can also be recovered to donate to hunger relief organizations to feed people in need. Even inedible food can be recycled into other products such as animal feed, compost and worm castings, bioenergy, bioplastics, and clothing. EPA’s Food Recovery Hierarchy identifies and prioritizes the actions organizations can take to prevent and divert wasted food. The top levels of the hierarchy are the most desirable alternatives because they create the most benefits for the environment, society, and the economy.

Part 4 of KTL’s series on Creating Sustainable Impacts will dive into some of the incentives and drivers for participating in sustainable food management.

 

21 Sep
sqf amendments
Amendments to SQF V9: Effective October 4, 2021

In October 2020, the Safe Quality Food Institute (SQFI) published SQF Codes Edition 9 (SQF V9) as the most recent edition of the SQF Food Safety Codes. SQF V9 is comprised of 13 industry-specific codes that provide step-by-step instruction for production and manufacturing sites to become SQF certified. This certification is recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) and showcases certified sites’ commitment to a culture of food safety and operational excellence in food safety management. Implementation of SQF V9 is effective as of May 24, 2021.

In August 2021, SQFI introduced four code amendments to this most recent edition. These amendments are required to be implemented along with applicable SQF V9 codes by October 4, 2021, and will be audited accordingly. A summary of the amendments is included below:

AreaDescriptionApplicability
Medical ScreeningRequires a medical screening procedure for all employees, visitors, and contractors who handle exposed product or food contact surfaces.Personnel Hygiene and Welfare, 3.3.1.1; 9.3.1.1; 10.4.1.1; 11.3.1.1; 12.4.1.1; 13.3.1.1; 17.3.1.1
Approved SuppliersRequires all approved and emergency suppliers to be registered and all registers to be complete, including supplier contact details.2.3.3 in the Primary Food Safety codes; 2.3.4 in all other codes except Storage and Distribution
Multi-site ProgramRequires sub-sites within an SQF multi-site program to operate in only the following food sector categories: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (primary) and 26 (storage and distribution).Appendix 4
Application of Agricultural ChemicalsRequires the code apply to the person applying chemicals, as well as the person making decisions on chemical application.7.7.3.2, 5.7.3.2, 8.7.3.2, 18.8.4.2

SQFI has a number of resources and guidance documents available to help ensure compliance with these amendments and the other requirements of SQF V9.

23 Aug
EPA Enforcement: Ammonia Refrigeration

Over the past several months, we have seen an uptick in Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) enforcement actions and large penalties for violations related to anhydrous ammonia storage, risk management, and chemical accident prevention planning. These include the following recent penalties:

Many of these violations have been uncovered as part of a National Compliance Initiative (NCI), which focuses on reducing risk to human health and the environment by decreasing the likelihood of accidental releases at facilities. According to EPA, there are approximately 150 catastrophic accidents each year at facilities that make, use, or store extremely hazardous substances (EHS). With ammonia refrigeration making up approximately 40% of the facilities with EHS regulated under the EPA’s Risk Management Program, these facilities have become a clear target for EPA.

Chemical Accident Prevention Program

Anhydrous ammonia is classified as an EHS that presents a significant health hazard if accidentally released. Anhydrous ammonia is corrosive to skin, eyes, and lungs. Exposure to 300 ppm is immediately dangerous to life and health. It is also flammable at concentrations of about 15-28% by volume in air.

To help refrigeration facilities comply with Clean Air Act (CAA) requirements and prevent accidents that could result in these significant hazards, EPA’s NCI is working to enforce the following regulatory aspects of the CAA’s Chemical Accident Prevention Program:

  • Risk Management Plan (RMP) regulations (40 CFR Part 68)
  • General Duty Clause (GDC) (CAA Section 112(r))
  • Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) (CAA Section 312)
  • Process Safety Management (PSM) regulations (29 CFR 1910.119)

Risk Management Plan (RMP)

EPA’s RMP regulations require facilities that have more than a threshold quantity of certain regulated chemicals in a process (e.g., use or storage) to develop a Risk Management Program. CAA designates anhydrous ammonia as a regulated substance under RMP with a threshold quantity of 10,000 lbs.

Recent cases have demonstrated that refrigeration facilities may not be fully implementing RMPs, despite requirements. Facilities subject to RMP must:

  • Analyze the worst-case release scenario to determine the potential effects of a release.
  • Implement a prevention program that includes safety precautions, as well as maintenance, monitoring, and employee training.
  • Complete a five-year accident history.
  • Coordinate response actions with the local emergency response agencies through an Emergency Response Program.
  • Submit to EPA a written RMP that summarizes the Risk Management Program.

General Duty Clause (GDC)

The GDC requires that owners and operators of facilities with regulated substances and other EHS in any quantity ensure those chemicals are managed safely. Unlike RMP, GDC applies to many chemicals and applies facility-wide, regardless of the amount of chemical stored. Facilities are responsible for:

  • Identifying the hazards posed by chemicals and assessing impacts of possible releases.
  • Designing and maintaining a safe facility to prevent accidental release.
  • Minimizing the consequences of accidental releases that do occur.

The EPA NCI focuses specifically on the “identifying hazards” component of GDC, particularly at ammonia refrigeration facilities using 1,000 lbs. to 10,000 lbs. of anhydrous ammonia (i.e., those that fall below the RMP threshold).

Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know (EPCRA)

Section 312 of EPCRA requires facilities to report the presence of certain chemicals, including anhydrous ammonia, to Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs) and response agencies. The purpose is to ensure emergency responders know what chemicals are onsite should they need to respond to an incident.

Any facility that is required to maintain Safety Data Sheets (SDS) for hazardous chemicals stored or used onsite must submit an annual Tier II inventory report for those chemicals. Tier II forms require basic facility identification information, employee contact information (emergency and non-emergency), information about chemicals stored/used at the facility, and additional data elements that would be useful to LEPCs and first responders.

Process Safety Management (PSM)

PSM regulations require facilities to prevent or minimize the consequences of catastrophic releases of toxic, reactive, flammable, or explosive chemicals. While PSM is not an EPA regulation, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration’s (OSHA) program is closely related to EPA’s RMP program. RMP is intended to protect the environment and the community; PSM is an occupational health program intended to protect workers. Applicability thresholds differ for RMP and PSM for some chemicals; however, the PSM and RMP thresholds for anhydrous ammonia are the same—10,000 lbs.

PSM establishes a comprehensive management program made up of 14 elements. The process hazard analysis is the key provision of the standard, as it is intended to identify, evaluate, and control the hazards involved in the process.

Additional Enforcement Focused on Process Startup

In February 2021, EPA issued a new Enforcement Alert, “Risk of Chemical Accidents During Process Startup.” According to the alert, the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) has noted that a disproportionate number of accidents occur during startup or other nonroutine operations.

Given this recent Alert, EPA cites that the following provisions of the RMP regulations are particularly important to prevent accidents during process startup:

  • Operating procedures that provide clear instructions for safely conducting activities involved in each covered process.
  • Training so each employee involved in operating a process is familiar with operating procedures, safety and health hazards, emergency operations, and safe work practices.
  • Pre-startup review to ensure construction and equipment is functioning according to design specifications and that safety, operating, maintenance, and emergency procedures are in and place and adequate.

Avoiding Enforcement: Hazard Analysis

As part of the NCI, EPA has been sending Information Requests to select facilities that it believes may be out of compliance with GDC. Again, the primary focus of those Information Requests includes those facilities with 1,000 lbs. to 10,000 lbs. of anhydrous ammonia onsite. Facilities are required to answer four questions about their ammonia refrigeration systems, including whether they have performed a process hazard review.

EPA is focusing heavily on the first duty of the GDC (i.e., hazard review) as it evaluates facilities for violations. An EPA Enforcement Alert on anhydrous ammonia at refrigeration facilities from February 2015 reinforces that identifying the hazards of a facility’s refrigeration systems is crucial to accident prevention and compliance. This involves identifying and inventorying every chemical onsite, understanding the associated hazards of each chemical, and making sure employees and local responders know what to do in case of an accident. Part of this analysis should also include addressing potential gaps between new industry codes and standards and the standards to which the facility was built (e.g., facility upgrades).

If your facility uses anhydrous ammonia and you have not conducted a hazard analysis, you are at significant risk of incurring enforcement actions of fines. It is important you invest the time and resources required to:

  • Understand the hazards posed by chemicals at the facility.
  • Assess the impacts of a potential release.
  • Design and maintain a safe facility to prevent accidental releases.
  • Coordinate with local emergency responders.
  • Minimize the consequences of accidental releases that do occur.

KTL has experience working with a broad cross-section of industries impacted by PSM, RMP, GDC, and EPCRA, particularly chemical and food processing companies. We have created RMP and GDC audit protocols, conducted audits, and implemented investigation/improvement programs following significant release events. In addition, our team provides Tier II and TRI reporting, writes plans for OSHA and Emergency Response, and routinely works with LEPCs to coordinate emergency response efforts and exercises to keep communities informed and safe. Our team has helped many companies keep operations safe and compliant—and avoid EPA enforcement.

 

28 Jul
Food Supply Chain
FDA’s Focus on Food Traceability

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 48 million Americans—about one in six—get sick with a foodborne illness every year. Of that number, CDC estimates 128,000 end up hospitalized and 3,000 will die from a foodborne disease. Correspondingly, consumers rank safety higher than anything else (e.g., affordability, healthful eating) when selecting a restaurant. Consumers want—and need—to know more about their food. 

It is not surprising, given this information, that improving food traceability is a key objective for the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). Food traceability is the ability to track any food through all stages of the supply chain—production, processing, distribution—to ensure food safety and operational efficiency. Over the past year, the Agency has launched three major initiatives to create safer and more traceable food supply chain.  

Read KTL’s recent article in Food Safety Magazine about these initiatives and FDA’s focus on food traceability.

19 May
remote food safety audit
Food Safety Magazine Article: Food Remote Audits

Audits provide an essential tool for improving and verifying compliance performance. Audits may be used to capture regulatory compliance status (e.g., FDA, USDA); certification system conformance (e.g., FSSC 22000, SQF, IFS, BRC); and adequacy of internal controls, potential risks, and best practices.

Most regulations, standards, and certification programs require audits to be conducted with some established frequency. For many food companies, figuring out how to meet these audit requirements amongst travel restrictions, new company safety protocol, and government quarantines related to COVID-19 has presented a significant challenge.

The Online Alternative

Fortunately, the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) and the benchmarked certification schemes have responded to this challenge, recognizing that online/remote/virtual audits can offer a viable alternative to onsite audits—even when companies are not operating in a pandemic.

Read KTL’s recent article in Food Safety Magazine about remote food safety auditing and best practices for doing it right.

19 Apr
Demonstrating Compliance in a Socially Distanced World

Don’t miss this free American Bar Association event on April 22, 2021 — Demonstrating Compliance in a Socially Distanced World: Virtual Auditing.

In the time of COVID-19, virtual auditing has become increasingly necessary and valuable to organizations as they seek to achieve environmental compliance while facing worldwide travel restrictions and remote work policies that have disrupted routine in-person audits. With this shift, comes the need for both regulated entities and regulators to develop new approaches and procedures to ensure the effectiveness of audits conducted remotely. Practitioners, including auditors and legal counsel, must consider new dynamics related to security, data protection, and audit integrity-on top of the usual audit considerations. This session will highlight some of these new challenges and provide real-world solutions to aid attendees form new practice skills to apply in the (virtual) field.

Panelists–including KTL’s Sarah Burton–will explore the new world of remote auditing, focusing on real-world solutions to the challenges that virtual auditing presents.

Register online.

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