September 8, 2022
Food safety is the assurance that food will not cause harm to consumers when it is prepared, packed, distributed and eaten according to its intended use. Most actors involved in the food supply chain understand food safety and the necessary codes of practice that ensure the absence of microbiological and chemical contaminants from food. However, few understand the need to be compliant with food contact regulations around the world. How can you be sure you’re meeting the right food safety compliance measures wherever your products are being sold?
Food safety is not only about preventing foodborne illness. It is also a matter of compliance. Policies and regulations play a major role in setting requirements to guarantee food safety and what is considered ‘safe to consume’ may not necessarily be legally compliant in every geography. Different food regulatory bodies across the world set specific requirements when it comes to food contact material. Therefore, food packaging and equipment must be designed and produced accordingly.
Global markets and supply chains are becoming increasingly complex, with products travelling through more facilities and distributed in many markets. Food manufacturers are faced with the challenge of meeting the demands of regulators in every country or region where products might end up.
Luckily, there are tools available to help ease this challenge. Codex Alimentarius is a collection of internationally recognised standards, codes of practice, guidelines, and other recommendations relating to foods, food production, and food safety released by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Health Organisation WHO. Compliance with these standards removes the burden of individual regulatory management from food manufacturers and allows them to focus on expanding their market share. All Tetra Pak processing and packaging systems adhere to Codex Alimentarius requirements and to internationally recognised compliance standards.
Food safety compliance depends on sharing facts throughout the entire supply chain (from raw material to food contact article). Often requirements or legislation, which starts in one country, or part of the world, will become global policy. To future-proof products, we are constantly monitoring emerging food safety legislation and requirements.
Through regulatory monitoring networks, we can keep up to date on the emerging legislative requirements in our markets and feed these back into the food safety related product requirement, avoiding substances of public concern before the legislation ban arrives. Food manufacturers can leverage these insights to address underlying issues or root causes.
With so many interconnected parts, the food value chain carries a high risk of system failure, which increases the risk of non-compliance with food safety regulations, or worse, food that is not safe for consumption. Systems thinking can help mitigate food safety risks by design.
Systems thinking is a holistic approach that seeks to expose potential vulnerabilities that could cause a system to fail and develop resilient systems to mitigate these risks. By working with a system supplier (packaging, processing and packaging equipment) that understands and controls all the key interfaces between equipment and material, food manufacturers can ensure seamless operations and reduce the risk of failure across the value chain.
Food safety is never static. Expectations shift, regulations change and scientific knowledge evolves. System suppliers that continually improve procedures, share expertise, monitor the regulatory landscape, and adopt a safety by design approach can help food manufactures meet their food safety compliance needs.