What is the FSAI? How Will it Affect my Business?
Food regulations are changing, and as science helps us understand more about foodborne illnesses there are more and more standards that must be met to ensure healthy food facility conditions. The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) was created by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland Act of 1998. The Authority is primarily responsible for the protection of consumers by leading a food safety community. With the restrictions and audits that the FSAI preforms, it is important to ensure your business is always up to par with regulatory standards. Potentially risky violations could make or break a business in addition to making a customer very ill. Although food audits can seem pesky, the FSAI works to keep the Irish community safe and disease free.
The Food Safety Authority performs three main functions that affect the operations of food producers, distributors, and marketers in Ireland: Enforcement, Monitoring, and Audit. Let's explore what each of these responsibilities entails and the relevance to your business.
The FSAI Act contains enforcement provisions which designate the powers to prosecute in addition to other provisions on specific pieces of food legislation. The provisions in the FSAI Act offers a means of reacting to and rectifying situations posing a risk to public health. Enforcement is carried out by officers appointed by the FSAI or its official agents under Section 49 of the Act. The powers granted to these officers are detailed in Sections 50 and 51 of the Act and include the issuance of various orders which range from improvement to prohibition to closure and extend to prosecution.
FSAI conducts food monitoring and surveillance in conjunction with official agencies, including the Health Service Executive, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Local Authorities and the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority, and their associated laboratories. In fulfillment of its responsibility for ensuring that the relevant requirements of food law are satisfied by food business operators at all stages of production, processing, and distribution, the FSAI, and its agencies carry out monitoring of food on the Irish market. The authority conducts and publishes reports and surveys in areas including microbiological, chemical, genetically modified food, irradiated food, labeling and nutrition. Human disease surveillance is carried out by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre, which publishes information and reports on human diseases which have the potential to be transmitted via food or water.
The Authority’s audit activities provide an independent evaluation of the effectiveness of the Irish official control system. Official control tasks are generally conducted in order to verify that food business operators carry out their activities - including production, distribution, and retail - in compliance with legal requirements. Following an official audit, the FSAI commonly makes recommendations for improvement, in areas including environmental health, seafood safety, veterinary public health, and general legal compliance. In cases of food safety incidents, emerging risks, or where food fraud is suspected, the Authority will often initiate an investigation.
Avoiding Penalties and Maintaining Compliance
The best way food producers, distributors, and marketers can stay in compliance with all of the laws that govern food processes, and the best way to avoid an audit, inspection, and litigation from the FSAI, is to ensure critical data is collected and analyzed at every step in the process. Companies at the cutting edge of the industry are addressing this issue by investing in software to automate their business processes. By eliminating physical paperwork in a business, companies are able to share, compile, and analyze data in real time, cutting waste, saving time, and decreasing expenses. After all, a smarter and more efficient business is a safer business – a business that makes better products, avoids costly investigations and litigation, and in the end, makes more money.
Now you can easily modernize the way you are managing your food safety. Whether you are looking to improve your data handling processes or improve the safety of your food handling operations, we hope you consider using GoCanvas as your data collection tool. Sign up for GoCanvas free and give our platform a try today!