By David Quebbemann
In early 2019, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) updated several components of its food safety guidelines via the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). A critical aspect of FSMA – one that is garnering significant attention from food manufacturers – is its stringent inspection and recall threshold. Manufacturers that receive more than two customer complaints are instructed to conduct robust, self-administered investigations and issue wide-scale recalls, as necessary.
In the past, investigation like these were “triggered” by the detection of large and/or problematic contaminants discovered during analysis, setting a clear and predictable standard for manufacturers. By describing applicable customer complaints and recommended remedial steps in a general fashion, however, the new policy creates substantial uncertainty and risk for manufacturers. Unexpected inspections and recalls are very challenging and very expensive, capable of significantly hindering a food company’s resources and growth strategy.
Given these circumstances, ANRITSU is currently advising its food manufacturing clients to enhance and possibly replace their traditional metal detection-based inspection devices with devices based on newer X-ray technology. By widening the proverbial “lens” on detectable contaminants – including both contaminant types and particle sizes – X-ray inspection helps manufacturers proactively address compliance and safety concerns in the face of these new government policies.