Global Harvest Foods Leads Industry in Early Compliance of FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)

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Company Embraces Initiative as an Early Adopter, Investing Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars to Ensure Safety, Quality and Compliance for Their Products

“Cross-contamination of product on shelves or in transit, unhealthy wildlife, deaths of domesticated animals, human interaction with animal products, contamination of the human food chain: we understand the seriousness of these issues and the impact on our societal health and well-being. The Global Food Safety Initiative and FDA Food Safety Modernization Act put safeguards into place that companies manufacturing pet and animal products should welcome. As we did. A leading manufacturer and supplier of wild bird and small critter products, it is our responsibility to create safe, high-quality merchandise for our customers to enjoy”
-Ed Mills, Co-founder and Principal, Global Harvest Foods, Ltd.

WHAT: FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act: A new regulation will require for the first time that companies making pet food and animal feed follow good manufacturing practices that encompass basic issues such as sanitation and hazard analysis. The regulation will apply to all domestic and imported animal food, including pet food, pet treats, animal feed, and the raw ingredients used in these products.

Very few companies in the wild bird space have earned compliance; an example of a company leading the way is Global Harvest Foods, Ltd. a leading manufacturer of bird food and small critter feeding supplies. All Global Harvest Foods Ltd. manufacturing facilities have undergone annual audits through the British Retail Consortium (BRC), American Institute of Bakeries (AIB) affiliate, to meet the standards of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). GFSI certification helps ensure companies are meeting the requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

WHEN: Public comment period for draft rules is now open; the Act was signed into law in January 2011 and is expected to be rolled out as finished legislation in the next 6 months.

WHY is FSMA important and newsworthy: Manufacturing and food safety for pet food and animal feed is largely off the radar of retailers and consumers and that needs to change:

  •     Adults and children interact with pet food daily, whether feeding wild birds or domesticated animals
  •     Pet food and animal feed is the first part of the food chain; a part of the overall food industry. Contaminated pet and animal feed has the potential to not only affect the health of our pets but also to enter the human food chain.
  •     About 48 million people (1 in 6 Americans) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die each year from food borne diseases, according to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is a significant public health burden that is largely preventable and FSMA is an important measure.
  •     Take the most recent example the of jerky treats made in China that have been blamed for the deaths of 600 pets and illnesses in about 3,600 more—the goal of FSMA is to prevent such tragedy and illness.
  •     Until FSMA, there’s been no requirement in this industry that companies analyze the potential food safety hazards of their products or that they follow current good manufacturing practices.
  •     In the past, such industry standards have been voluntary. Take for example the Wild Bird Feed Industry’s Quality Standards Program. Consumers will appreciate learning that they can start choosing products from trusted brands TODAY who have already gone through voluntary standards like WBFI and/or sought early FSMA compliance—it is a limited list of companies but coverage of the issue will certainly drive consumer demand and industry response.

Global Harvest Foods embraced the initiative as an early adopter and invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to ensure safety, quality and compliance for their products. They went through a three year process that required detailed documentation, third party audits, the performance of mock recalls, and an astute understanding of how to contain or prevent contamination issues.

WHY did GHF become an early mover?
“Utilizing Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMP) and adopting HACCP principles allows us to continuously improve our processes to ensure we meet the required standards and embody them in our everyday principles. Focusing on hygienic personnel practices and training along with developing preventative controls through the spectrum of purchasing, receiving, maintenance, production and shipping enables us to provide a safe and high quality product that our customers can depend upon. Aligning our business practices with the standards of the GFSI means we are committed to excellence and our efforts are shared by every associate across the entire company. Protecting our customers is a top priority and we understand that infestation and cross contamination is a critical issue for merchants. By embracing the FSMA act and its intent, we provide our client partners with the assurance that they will not be faced with negative news surrounding the products they carry or recalls that can be damaging to their own customer relationships,” closed Mills.

WHO can I interview? Very few companies have gotten an early start on compliance. Global Harvest Foods Ltd. is one example of a company leading the way with adoption of the FSMA.

Co-founder and Principal, Ed Mills, is available for interviews, quotes or contributed articles on the following topics:

  •     “How to” comply with the new regulation: insight and surprises
  •     Why Global Harvest Foods is leading the industry in compliance/the importance of industry adoption
  •     Drawing on the GMO debate for guidance: A parallel between rice and beans and pet products

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Jennifer K Ritchie
since: 01/2009
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