NEW YORK ― Federal food safety legislation just signed by President Obama will accelerate the urgency for many companies to examine every link in the food chain to ensure that they have adequate preventive controls in place to identify and prevent problems that may result in food-borne illnesses, according to a new report from PwC US and Leavitt Partners.
Entitled “Point of View: FDA Food Safety Modernization Act,” the report says that to protect their brands, food companies will need to meet higher regulatory standards and likely need to go beyond compliance in order to win the loyalty of consumers and investors and gain competitive advantage.
“Today's globally extended supply chains mean that, unfortunately, contamination can turn up in more products and more often than in the past," said Carter Pate, who leads the global government and infrastructure teams at PwC, in a statement. “With the new legislation, food companies at every level will be required to develop and document food safety plans that identify and prevent hazards at each facility.”
The report outlines some of the significant features of the legislation, such as requirements to document identification of hazards and implementation of preventive controls, and develop defensive plans aimed at preventing intentional contamination if the food is considered to be highly vulnerable. It also provides examples of leading practices that can help food companies not only comply, but go beyond the proposed rules for highly improved performance. Companies that aspire to be market leaders can start by reviewing their food safety plans, training programs and supply chains, with an eye toward making improvements.
“Heightened focus on food safety by consumers, regulators and Congress has created new challenges for the food industry that can result in erosion of a brand overnight," said David Acheson, Managing Director of Leavitt Partner's Food and Import Safety Practice. "The new food safety legislation is going to make these challenges more acute and the need for change more urgent.”