The new FSMA rules: Preventive Controls for Human Food; and Preventive Controls for Animal Food are keeping us busy. I am a lead instructor for both and also the Foreign Supplier Verification Program. Jason and Emily are lead instructors for Preventive Controls for Human Food. The courses which were developed by the FSPCA in the USA to inform technicians about the new rules are making a useful contribution to food safety here in China, especially the Human course. The 2.5 day course summarizes what is best practice for food safety in a methodical clear way. By translating the course power-points into Chinese and delivering the subject matter in Chinese, Emily and Jason are getting excellent feedback for their efforts from the Chinese attendees.
Meanwhile I have just instructed my first course in Moscow. FSMA is spreading far and wide.
May 30th 2017 saw the introduction of the new Foreign Supplier Verification Program, known as FSVP. Now US importers will have to ensure that their foreign suppliers are controlling the important food safety hazards associated with the food. When factory records are checked the reader must be able to understand the language in which they are written. (Which makes a lot of sense). Jason and Emily have developed a checklist that will enable them to effectively ascertain if the factories are complying with the FSMA requirements and effectively controlling the hazards of concern. This checklist along the arrangement of the translation of important documents to English will enable the importer to make an informed decision about the ability of suppliers. With oversight by the US FDA, this new program will encourage best practice in the industry, and increase the transparency of the food chain.
One thing that always strikes you in China is the small volume brought to market by each farmer or village agent who amalgamates the produce from one farmer. Recently there has been a revolution in distribution. For 2500 yuan, or 400 US$ the farmer can buy a 3 wheel electric truck that can take 500 kg for 20km, or so to market himself. That and his mobile phone to check prices is transforming his marketing power.
Farmers can be enthusiastic about training as long there is a cup of tea, and they think they can make more money. Same all around the world! These farmers near Beijing are being taught about pesticide safety and Integrated Pest Management. Many farmer’s sons and daughters are part of the rapidly growing urban population, and bring home awareness of these food safety issues not previously considered in the village.
Love this picture… Sums up the small scale of farming in China and the hard work for each farmer. But the picture also demonstrates the challenges faced in trying to scale up farming here. Each farmer is unwilling to give up his plot, and amalgamate it with others in case it is lost forever.
Feature of Chinese factories. Lots of people. Flexible production as a result. But wages have risen by 300% in the last 10 years, and labour is now in short supply bringing many challenges to the traditional (two decades!) production systems.