The panelists in this breakout session addressed the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and the changes it has brought and will continue to bring to CPG manufacturers and retailers.
The panel, comprised of Cathy LeRoux, associate director of product risk and crisis management at Kellogg Company, Gary Spinazze, vice president of vendor relations at Nash-Finch Company and Patrick Walsh, senior vice president of industry relations, education and research at the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), all referenced the importance of communication and data tracking for a successful recall plan.
“You must make sure your communications are consistent. Over-communication helps if you are sure about a product, but if you are unsure and give incomplete or inaccurate information, it can really hurt.”’
According to LeRoux, when it comes to the FSMA, records maintenance is going to be very critical. Manufacturers will need to make sure all records are up-to-date and tracked, because your company will be responsible for controlling your recall one step down and one step up. “You need to make sure you have control of your product from beginning to end. It’s not enough to know where your ingredients are coming from.”
Gary Spinazze explained that as a retailer, your communication of a recalled product needs to follow the same path as the product itself. “Notification is important, especially class one, which is a serious health issue; you want to notify everyone who has come across the product. Your product name is out there and that’s what they’ll look for” when a product is recalled.
With the current system, FSMA requires companies to report to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) using the Safety Reporting Portal within 24 hours of confirming they have a reportable food recall, therefore a number of retailers get the first communication from the FDA website.
With the FSMA newly enforced, LeRoux added, “this is a work in progress. Each one of us has an opportunity to influence the act as we participate with the FDA.”