Nancy Scharlach, President and Chief Technical Director
Following endless amount of recalls, listeria outbreaks, and general food safety issues, amendments to the U.S. food safety policies were deemed to be long overdue. Consequently, under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP) was issued to ensure that any food products imported to the U.S. were in compliance with the Preventative Controls for Human Food regulation. While FSVP was enforced in 2016, many growers and factories exporting to the U.S. continued to operate only under Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles and did not adhere to FSVP regulations. The food suppliers also lacked proper food safety plans in compliance with FSVP and Preventative Controls Qualified Individual (PCQI) certified personnel. Navigating through FSMA regulatory requirements can be a challenging process, which is why FSMA International, a food safety advisory firm brings over 50 years of food industry experience to help both domestic and international food suppliers comply with all aspects of FSMA regulations.
“Our experienced global advisory team partners with food processors, growers, and distributors, to provide the most up to date and relevant guidance navigating through FSMA,” explains Nancy Scharlach, President and Chief Technical Director, FSMA International.
She has over 25 years of experience in the food safety industry and has worked with 2000 manufacturing plants worldwide. Currently, FSMA International has been focused on helping clients adhere to FSVP through multiple service offerings that include coaching and training, e-learning programs, and documentation development. This is because often FSMA International’s clients lack PCQI certified individuals and on a fundamental level do not meet U.S. food safety standards such as the necessary sanitation, hygiene, equipment, and qualified staff.
FSMA International partners with food importers of all sizes and creates comprehensive food safety plans that comply with FSMA regulations after identifying any deficiencies in their existing practices. FSMA International offers FSVP services to foreign importers which include FSVP program development, reviews and approvals by certified individuals, a proprietary scorecard for each supplier, ongoing verification activities, and a custom portal to store all of the FSVP documentation. Launching this year as part of its service offerings, FSMA International will represent foreign suppliers as their internal U.S. agent for food safety and ensure they are in full compliance with FDA regulations. FSMA International also provides food safety training courses both online and offline for PCQI, FSVP, HACCP, and FSMA compliance. For clients that require additional assistance with training and program development, FSMA International flies its expert team onsite to aid in the process. By working closely together with a client corrective actions can be taken quickly to ensure standards are met according to FSVP standards.
Due to the pandemic, FSMA International moved from onsite consultations and coaching to online training and virtual site visits through video conferencing. While this is not a substitute for face to face meetings, for the time being remote consultations has allowed FSMA International to continue to help clients with setting up food safety programs in accordance with FSVP. In addition, FSMA is launching a series of short educational videos for food importers to review what the requirements are for FSVP compliance. They can then select topics that want to review or become more familiar with the specific details of FSMA regulations. Moving forward, FSMA International is focused on providing turnkey FSVP services to foreign suppliers and helping them implement stringent food safety practices to ensure the wellbeing of consumers. The company also intends to expand its e-learning and classroom training platform. With the FDA’s enforcement of FSMA increasing for both domestic and international food suppliers, FSMA International continues to work toward providing the resources and training required to comply with regulations.