Processing Technologies for Food and Feed
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Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is here…..

Posted on: November 25, 2015 Author:


The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is the biggest regulatory change to animal feed (which, as I found out, isn’t really a term anymore) producers in decades.

I wrote about what I thought FSMA would mean for feed producers last year (see here), and it’s still a good overview if you’re looking to begin learning about it.

I attended a seminar on FSMA recently to learn more about this new US Federal law.  Several things that the informative speakers said stuck with me.  Back to my comment in the first sentence above – as far as the regulators are concerned, “animal feed” is now “animal food”.  In fact, the FSMA “Animal Food” final ruling was published on September 17, 2015 (see here).

One of the presenters showed a graphic of the entire food production chain – making the point that what happens on the farm is directly connected to home and restaurant consumers.  It was also pointed out that the lines between animal food, pet food, and human food were less and less distinct.  For example, pet food is often kept inside the home, and children have easy access to it.  In addition, the growing popularity of urban farming, such as backyard poultry production, further blurs these lines.

How are chickens kept in your yard any different than a dog or cat?  And, many people keep the birds around as a source of eggs or meat, so the farm-to-consumer food chain concept is apparent to anyone who has never set foot on a farm.

So, what to do now?  I would recommend reading my article, linked above, regarding how to begin thinking about how to tackle FSMA if you have not already thought about this.

The worst response to FSMA is no response – the presenters made this clear, too.  Having some sort of plan can begin as simply as making a flow diagram of your operation, which would include all of your equipment.  And, your equipment companies should be able to work with you, and provide information that will help you with FSMA.  At Insta-Pro Intl, for example, we have information on the sterilizing effects of high shear, dry extrusion, and can provide this to you.  This background data, including research done by universities and published in journal articles, can support your plan for dealing with FSMA.

Don’t forget that your customer specifications and historical data can be very helpful with FSMA, too.  If you have a plan for making product with specifications demanded by your customers, document these procedures (testing incoming loads of ingredients or finished product before it leaves, as examples) and keep these records.

As FSMA is here, take steps now to be compliant.  Please contact me, Dr. Dave Albin (515-254-1260), about a potential consulting arrangement for guidance and ideas to help with FSMA.

Making the Most Out of a Sales Rep Visit

Posted on: November 19, 2015 Author:

Adam Sackett

As a Regional Sales Director for a company that exports extrusion equipment to over 100 countries, I typically make sales visits to current customers and potential customers once or twice a year, or every other year depending on the location and amount of business in that area.  As a business owner or operations manager, you might think that a visit by a salesperson is simply to try to sell you their products.  However a sales visit is a very good opportunity for you to learn what is going on in the industry and learn about new advances in technology.

Typically on a visit I like to start by asking how their operation is currently running and then discuss how they may be able to maximize both the efficiency in the plant and the quality of the final product.  This is often very well received because if the business owner can spend less to make the same amount of product, they will have better margins and more money in their pocket at the end of the year.  After discussing current processes, our focus turns to the future.  As a business owner you probably are always thinking about improving and growing your business.  The sales rep can look at your infrastructure, raw materials availability and your interests to determine what would be a good fit.

I urge you to make the most of a Sales Rep visit and be prepared with questions and discussion topics upon their arrival in order to make the most of the limited time available.  It does not cost you anything and the worst that can happen is you learn that you have more areas of improvement that you thought. For the overall health of your business, this is a good thing to know.  Not only that, but if your business is running well and making money, it helps with future investments, and the Sales Rep will be more than happy to help you find the right solutions to help you profitably grow your business.

A sales rep should bring value to you with new ideas, should challenge your thinking and should provide you with market insights, along with providing other valuable contributions to your business strategies.  If they are not, and are just selling you a product, then you should question whether you are working with the right company.