Joseph Bou Samra, Managing Director
According to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 48 million people (1 in 6) in the US get sick from foodborne diseases each year, of which 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die. With the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and other stringent food safety regulations, the US has introduced a strong regulatory framework to address the challenges and enhance food safety systems. The framework ensures advancement in food regulations and standards for firms to efficiently trade and supply food products in the local markets. Given the complexities in the food and beverage industry, food manufacturers face challenges in implementing effective systems that ensure compliance with international and national food safety laws. At this juncture, Global Management Consulting Services, LLC (GMCS) helps US food manufacturing and supply chains comply with local and international food safety rules and regulations.
Often, supply chains find their hands tied while doing business with companies in other countries due to a lack of communication. "We are a one-stop-shop for all clients' requirements related to the standardization of systems in the food industry," says Joseph Bou Samra, Managing Director of GMCS. The firm bridges this gap with its multi-lingual services that help US companies communicate with their overseas suppliers.
Further, it assists food manufacturers through consultancy service on sustainable standards related to ethical trade and responsible sourcing standards such as Fairtrade, SMETA& BRCGS. "We help food manufacturers comply with both the basic and complex regulatory requirements to export their products overseas while ensuring a secure supply chain," says Bou Samra.
GMCS’ staff are FSPCA Lead Instructors and approved training providers with BRCGS. It provides on-site training in local languages to simplify the BRC global standard requirements for food safety, packaging, and Storage & Distribution. Besides, the firm offers extensive consultancy services to help clients implement international safety standards such as Global GAP, GMP, HACCP, Gluten-Free, ISO 22000, GFSI approved standard (SQF, FSSC, BRCGS for food safety, packaging and storage, and distribution). Since its inception, GMCS' services aim to improve food safety culture at clients' sites. It walks with the client through every step of implementing the safety standards and ensures that the clients' employees are on board with the newly implemented safety systems.
To provide accurate recommendations, GMCS performs an in-depth gap analysis to understand the gap between the standard requirements and what the client has in place at that time. The firm scrutinizes clients' safety regulation documentation to check if they are up-to-date and scopes the facilities and installed food products manufacturing systems. It also looks for food safety-related infrastructural issues, appropriate workflows, and accurate segregation of gap analysis. Based on the gap analysis, GMCS provides a plan that specifies all the necessary improvements crucial to comply with the regulatory requirements. Further, the firm goes through the entire implementation process step-by-step with the clients, helping them conduct an internal audit. GMCS stands behind the client through the certification process, ensuring that clients take the appropriate corrective action in case of any findings raised during external audit and provide monthly or quarterly, or annual system maintenance services.
"Due to the fact that there are few companies in the US that provide same services as GMCS and with limitation of travel & high demand on food product due to the Pandemic and increase of food fraud due to the disruption of supply chain the need for the services provided by GMCS increased. For that reason, COVID 19 has been a turning point for us with businesses shifting to remote," says Bou Samra. Nimble and agile, GMCS quickly adapted to the changed requirements and started providing services remotely that has enabled it to meet the high demands rapidly, which is much appreciated by its clients. Today, with digitalization entering the food and packaging industry, smart food safety systems are replacing traditional practices of quality assurance with software-enabled monitoring systems."