Specialty Food Magazine

Spring 2018

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

Issue link: https://specialtyfoodmagazine.epubxp.com/i/950112

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Page 78 of 91

rely on information from a qualified auditor, who may or may not be a government employee. This can include a third-party auditor who works as an audit agent of a certification body. Audit agents must: • Have relevant knowledge and experience that provides an adequate basis to evaluate compliance with the appli- cable food safety requirements of the FD&C Act and FDA regulations • Be competent to conduct food safety audits • Have completed annual food safety training The education and training of the qualified individual does not need to take place in the U.S. And the qualified individual does not need to reside in the U.S. However, the records relating to the quali- fied individual's verification of the safety of a foreign-made food must be available at the importer's place of business for inspection by the FDA within 24 hours of a request. Although the FDA stresses its f lexibility in FSVP, there is one aspect in which it is not f lexible. Your foreign supplier cannot verify the safety of its own food using a qualified individual who is an employee of or consultant to the company. Equivalency and Accreditation Equivalency means that the FDA has recognized the food safety systems of another country as being equal to or more stringent than those of the U.S. As of February 2018, only three countries—New Zealand, Australia, and Canada—have been recognized as equiva- lent. Equivalency talks have started with the European Union, but nobody expects those to be concluded soon. The FDA does state that stringent or restrictive requirements from a foreign government that are equal to or greater than those in U.S. law do provide assurances that the foreign supplier's level of food safety might be adequate. The importer can show proof that those requirements do meet or exceed U.S. food safety standards and that they are being met by its supplier as part of its FSVP. Ron Tanner is vice president, philanthropy, government, and industry relations for the Specialty Food Association. Find more information at learning.specialtyfood.com under Food Safety. @ specialtyfood.com U.S. or foreign government personnel can conduct FSVP activities, as long as they understand FDA food safety regulations. specialty food maker 76 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE specialtyfood.com Like much of the industry, the foodservice channel is becoming increasingly more eco-friendly. "It's more expensive, but there are some clients who will only buy things that are in sustainable packag- ing," says Lambert. "Most customers don't want to pay for excessive or over- packaging and don't want large numbers of units in a case, as they prefer to rotate inventory quickly," says Metzger. His advice: "Ask a few executive chefs and food and beverage managers to show you what they regard as a superior package. Learn from your customers." 5. Foodservice has its own language. The foodservice segment has its own distinct vocabulary and selling successfully means learning a new language, even for veteran producers. According to Dahlheimer, "the most important foodservice terms you need to know are the acronyms for certifications, product specs, and logistics." He urges manufacturers to have all documentation up-to-date and avail- able. "Be sure to have a spec sheet, CoA, supplier certifications, CCOF certificate, kosher certificate, third-party audit, SQF2 supplier, and HACCP certificate." The consensus is that breaking into this vast category is worth the effort. "You get to operate in a channel where the discussion is first and foremost about your product and not about the promotion, the free-fill, and the slotting dollars," says Eriksen. "Wouldn't you like to open an envelope containing a check that pays your invoice in full, with no deductions?" The caveat is that breaking into foodservice may take more time. But, she continues, "once you do, chefs can be very loyal and support- ive of your product, and help take it further than you ever expected." @ specialtyfood.com Visit the Learning Center on specialtyfood.com for more resources about operating in the foodservice channel. Denise Shoukas is contributing editor to Specialty Food Magazine. foodservice (continued from p. 71)

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