Baking & Snack - May 2018 - 25
playing it safe
The latest FSMA regulation sends foreign supplier compliance to the top of US
companies' to-do lists.
by Karlee Renkoski
©alivepix - stock.adobe.com
Statistics can speak louder than words. In 2016, 14.8%
of all US food and beverages were imported, according
to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Research
Service. Although that percentage might seem low, a
closer look tells a different story from a category perspective: 11.4% of bakery products, 45.2% of grain and
oilseed milling products, 36.2% of sugar and confections, and 45.3% of fruits and tree nuts came from international suppliers. More recently in 2017, USDA data
stated the US spent more than $5.5 trillion on imported
snack foods and about $6 trillion on food preparation, a
segment that includes baking inputs, mixes and doughs.
What this information means is more important
than the numbers themselves. They show the magnitude of US food imports and reflect the significance of
foreign suppliers' contributions - ones that can affect
the health of American consumers - to the baking and
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) created the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) to
ensure that US companies make products safe for consumption. The latest regulation goes a step further with
the Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP) to
verify food imports meet the same safety standards as
US food production.
The first deadline for FSVP compliance occurred a year
ago for large businesses, and small businesses - those with
fewer than 500 full-time employees - had until March
2018. Some companies might have met their FSVP obligations through compliance with Preventive Controls for
Human Food (PCHF), a regulation that's been enforced
over the past two years. The final deadline for FSVP is
March 2019 and applies to food imports from qualified facilities, which includes very small businesses averaging less
than $1 million per year, adjusted for inflation, during the
3-year period before the applicable calendar year.
Although most deadlines have passed, not every foreign supplier has complied. More importantly, not all
have a high quality of compliance. "While many importers have met the FSVP requirements, others failed to
have an adequate FSVP in place," FDA said, regarding
results from recent inspections. "Still others have had issues with appropriately documenting their FSVP."
Len Heflich, president, Innovation for Success and
Baking & Snack contributing editor, noted that FSVP
is not as complex as it appears. "I think the biggest risk
for most people is that they're going to overcomplicate
FSMA," he said.
In the simplest form, complying to the FSVP rule requires bakers and snack makers to know who is responsible
for what ... and how to document, document, document.
Who's in charge?
Every US commercial import exceeding $2,500 must be
recorded in the Automated Commercial Environment/
International Trade Data System (ACE/ITDS), a system
www.bakingandsnack.com / May 2018 Baking & Snack 25