Birko Corp's Miles Murphy Discusses The Food Safety Modernization Act Updates and More
HENDERSON, CO - While many step up to bat for food safety, understanding the ins and outs of what it means to comply with food safety rules and regulations is a whole different ball game, but one that Birko Corp has long since mastered. With 65 years of food safety experience and customers across all sectors of the food and beverage industry, Birko’s team of experts and level of service is setting the standard for what it means to be a personalized and efficient partner in food safety.
I chatted with Miles Murphy, Birko’s Business Development Director – Produce Sector, to learn more about the company’s emphasis on staying up-to-date with food safety.
“Our top goal is protecting the food supply,” Miles tells me. “We help produce companies, as well as food and beverage processors, keep their facilities and products safe, secure, and pathogen-free. Our team of trained, certified experts works directly with produce companies to help them develop and implement an effective and efficient food safety program. This includes everything from in-plant consultations, training, and our proven cleaning and sanitation chemicals and equipment.”
Currently, Birko is honing in on helping its customers stay on top of the updates outlined in The Food Safety Modernization Act (FMSA). Miles tells me Birko is specifically educating customers about the final FSMA rule, the Preventive Controls Rule, which requires companies to staff or work with a Preventive Controls Qualified Individual (PCQI). As part of this update, each individual facility is required to have a PCQI perform and manage the food safety plan and ensure all records are kept of all food safety processes. Birko is helping customers by supplying PCQIs employees that provide support and understand the intricacies of FSMA and help develop and roll out food safety plans.
“Our experts offer in-plant audits and regular onsite reviews of our customers’ facilities,” Miles shares. “We offer recommendations on how to save time, money, water, and chemicals during these onsite visits, as well as 24/7 technical service for any questions or training needed. In addition, our website is another resource we offer; there are technical articles, blogs, webinars, and more.”
Another service Birko is emphasizing now is unbundling contract labor with food safety sanitation. FSMA is causing significant changes for the produce industry, and with the current labor shortage, it is harder for companies to comply with these changes. While some are responding to this by partnering with third-party contract labor providers that offer chemical products under one invoice, Birko refers to this as “bundling” and advises produce companies of its potential drawbacks.
“We’ve worked with various customers to unbundle these services and discovered improper and ineffective food safety procedures, hidden costs, inadequate chemical usage, and less labor than what is promised. When it comes to food safety and the protection of your brand, anything but absolute transparency is a huge gamble,” Miles explains. “When produce companies experience a recall as a result of poor food safety management with their bundled contract labor and food safety sanitation, the direct costs are tremendous.”
Specifically, Miles points out that the costs to recall the product, lost product and sales due to the recall, extra transportation costs, customer reimbursements, lost time, investigation costs, legal fees, and warehousing, not to mention the negative impact on brands long-term, start to add up.
“Birko, however, isn’t just your chemical and equipment supplier; we partner with our customers on their food safety programs,” Miles says. “It’s important to note that while there may be an upfront cost to food safety and sanitation, the downstream savings are worthwhile and the positive effects on your brand image are priceless.”
To learn more about Birko and how it is helping produce processors with FSMA compliance and unbundling, check out its blog and LinkedIn, and keep your eyes peeled for its eBook launching in June 2018 that provides a deep analysis of the potential pitfalls of bundling contract labor and sanitation, the labor shortage, and automated sanitation solutions.
Keep reading AndNowUKnow for more exclusives on companies keeping the produce industry safe and secure.