A few weeks ago Eagle Protect PBC attended the Food Safety Summit in Chicago. The Summit brought together food safety professionals from over 1200 companies ranging from large to enormous in size. Think Costco, McDonalds, Kraft and many others, as well as the major distributors of food products across the US.
Steve and Kyle attending the Eagle stand at the FSS
The focus this year was on the ongoing implementation of what has been described as, “The most sweeping reform of our food safety laws in more than 70 years.” (That is FSMA – The Food Safety Modernisation Act). It aims to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus from responding to contamination to preventing it. To give you an idea of the scale of the issue, about 48 million people get sick, 128,000 are hospitalised, and 3,000 die each year from food borne diseases in the US. The cost is huge and as much as processes have improved over the years the numbers involved are telling.
Eagle as a key supplier to the Food Industry in both New Zealand and now the US, advised the Summit that an often overlooked element was PPE and gloves. These fell in a void between consumables, like rubbish bags, paper products etc and the food contact materials such as meat trays and bin liners. Labelled as intermittent contact items the risk of contamination from these products is not seen as great enough to warrant close observation.
We of course disagree, having seen first hand where some of the products used regularly in NZ and the US come from; in terms of dirty factories, poorly managed staff and conditions and environmental impact. We take the stand that our products should be compliant food contact materials, regulated by the FDA and others. This is what we strive to achieve.
In many cases we have found the food safety professionals within a manufacturing or processing business are unaware that the consumables used within their plants are purchased based solely on price rather than a set of parameters that everything else that touches the product is required to meet. A high risk approach in our view.
Interesting times ahead for the US food industry and for any NZ supplier exporting into that market as well! Thanks again for your support. We appreciate supplying people and companies who care enough about their business and their customers to take their disposable consumable supply seriously.