Why is a robust Food Safety Due Diligence critical when considering an investment in a food company? Innovative products with novel ingredients, lack of preservatives, improved detection of pathogens, and increased regulatory scrutiny are all coming together to create the perfect storm for food companies. The number of Food & Drug Administration (FDA) recalls increased 25% from 2014 to 2016 – and there is no indication the upsurge will slow down anytime soon.
While most food manufacturers are aware the deadline for compliance with FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is September 19, 2017 (specifically, for businesses employing less than 500 full-time employees), there appears to be a lot of confusion over the specific requirements. One thing is for certain – the deadline is rapidly approaching. On top of that, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has resurrected the “Park Doctrine” which states “responsible corporate officials” can be prosecuted for violations of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic act, whether or not they were expressly aware of the violations. Upper management can be held liable if the DOJ determines controls could have prevented illnesses or deaths caused by a company’s products.
TriVista recommends conducting an independent third-party review of the operation’s food safety programs, level of regulatory compliance, supply chain processes, facility conditions, crisis management procedures, and label claims. Ensuring the company understands and has mitigated its food safety risks will minimize the chances of recalls, convictions, or decline of brand equity.
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