There have been many changes to food processing since the signing of FSMA in 2011. Looking forward to a new year and a new decade, we wanted to see how processors are managing their new responsibilities and what they see as their priorities for the next few years.
So, to find out, and as part of our Food Safety Insights program with Food Safety Magazine, we surveyed and/or interviewed more than 200 food processors from around the world. In order to avoid guiding the responses, we asked open-ended questions where one could offer any answer in any category of food safety or operations related to food processing. The first question, for example, was, “What would you say are your top priorities for food safety for 2020?”
It was also clear from the responses that issues related to microbiology, environmental monitoring, and pathogen control will continue to occupy an area of primary focus for many processors as roughly one in five mentioned some aspect of microbiology and control as a key area for investment in 2020. Some mentioned specific targets, such as Listeria and, specifically control of L. monocytogenes. Several processors in the meat and protein category also mentioned looking to improve their Salmonella and Campylobacter control programs, most likely in anticipation of impending regulatory and enforcement initiatives.
Training will also be a key area of focus (confirming what we have seen in previous studies) with about one in six citing training as a top priority. Many respondents indicated an intent to develop and incorporate new and improved training methods into their training programs. Some mentioned making better use of technology, including using more self-guided training programs that people can more easily access or use for refresher training as needed.
The full article can be found in the December/January issue for Food Safety Magazine – http://bit.ly/2ZiR1hF
Note: In the data shown in Figure 3 from the article, “Regulatory Compliance” was cited second most after Microbiology. Regulatory Compliance encompasses many issues and activities, including most of the other activities cited in the Figure. From our interviews, however it was clear that Microbiology and Training were the two top distinct areas of focus.