QA keeps a pulse on the food safety industry with our timely reader poll surveys.
Our latest survey asks: Has COVID-19 caused you to consider redesigning your food processing/manufacturing facility?
Head here to participate.
ST. LOUIS, Mo. — QIMA/WQS, a provider of independent third-party certification, inspection and training services, has become a licensed certification body for the Cannabis Safety & Quality (CSQ) Certification Program. The CSQ Certification Program and applicable standards aim to help cannabis companies minimize risk, protect their brand and meet regulatory requirements from seed to sale.
The CSQ Certification Program is breaking new ground as one of the world's first cannabis certification programs that meets the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) requirements, set to be benchmarked in 2022. The first CSQ Certifications will be awarded starting Jan. 4, 2021.
Headquartered in North Carolina, QIMA/WQS offers solutions to the food supply chain from farm to fork, and is a part of the QIMA Group, a supply chain compliance company that partners with brands, retailers and importers to optimize their global supply network. QIMA/WQS is approved by GFSI recognized schemes, government entities and major food retailers.
“We are thrilled to welcome QIMA/WQS into our family of licensed certification bodies to foster the CSQ mission of improving the overall safety and quality of cannabis and cannabis-infused products worldwide,” said Tyler Williams, chief technical officer and founder of CSQ. “Our goal is to encourage the cannabis industry to self-regulate and think beyond meeting basic CGMPs. QIMA/WQS has been expanding internationally and conducting audits for nearly three decades, so we knew they would make great allies as we explore this uncharted territory.”
As a certification body of CSQ, QIMA/WQS will carry out off-site document evaluations and on-site inspections to ensure each company is meeting proper cultivation, extraction or manufacturing safety standards.
"At QIMA/WQS, we see an enormous potential to support and provide quality certification to the entire cannabis supply chain. Joining CSQ and its innovative approach is an exciting step into the diversification of our services and growth," said Mario Berard, CEO of QIMA/WQS.
SILVER SPRING, Md. — Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the renewal of the joint agency formal agreement including the Winning on Reducing Food Waste Initiative. The agreement reaffirms the agencies' commitment to improve coordination and communication efforts to better educate Americans on the impacts and importance of reducing food loss and waste. Food loss and waste negatively impact food security, the economy, communities and the environment.
Since the launch of Winning on Reducing Food Waste Initiative, public-private partnerships, like the United States Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions, are key to successfully reducing food loss and waste by implementing proven strategies and sharing best practices. In 2020, 10 new businesses and organizations were added to the 2030 Champions.
Today's renewed three-year agreement will continue to build on these successful partnerships and reiterate the shared commitment to work towards the national goal of reducing food loss and waste by 50% by 2030.
"The United States is getting a handle on its serious food waste problem," said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. "The three-year renewal of this joint agency agreement will help our country achieve its ambitious goal of cutting food waste by 50% by 2030."
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue added, "Our nation's agricultural abundance should be used to nourish those in need, not fill the trash. As the world's population continues to grow and the food systems continue to evolve, now is the time to continue to educate consumers and businesses alike on the need for food waste reduction."
FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn added, "We've seen great strides in food loss and waste reduction since first entering the joint agency formal agreement with our federal colleagues, and through collaborative efforts with our public and private partners. At FDA, we've encouraged food manufacturers and retailers to standardize the way quality-based date labels are used on packaged foods and developed videos and materials to educate consumers. With these continued partnerships and important efforts, we're on track to see a 50% reduction of food waste by 2030."
As part of the Winning on Reducing Food Waste Initiative, EPA, USDA, and FDA issued its FY2019-2020 Federal Interagency Strategy in April 2019, which identifies six priority areas on which the agencies will focus their efforts to reduce food loss and waste in the U.S. In May 2020, the Federal Interagency Strategy was updated by listing contributing efforts for each of the strategy's six priority action areas:
Priority Area 1: Enhance Interagency Coordination
Priority Area 2: Increase Consumer Education and Outreach Efforts
Priority Area 3: Improve Coordination and Guidance on Food Loss and Waste Measurement
Priority Area 4: Clarify and Communicate Information on Food Safety, Food Date Labels and Food Donations
Priority Area 5: Collaborate with Private Industry to Reduce Food Loss and Waste Across the Supply Chain
Priority Area 6: Encourage Food Waste Reduction by Federal Agencies in their Respective Facilities
The agencies also launched partnerships with organizations at the forefront of food loss and waste reduction efforts. In April 2019, the agencies signed an agreement with ReFED, a network of business, nonprofit, foundation and government leaders committed to reducing U.S. food waste. In October 2019, another partnership with the Food Waste Reduction Alliance formalized collaboration on education and outreach efforts with three major sectors of the supply chain: food manufacturing, retail and restaurant and food service
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Blueberry growers across America this week established a new coalition, the American Blueberry Growers Alliance, to seek relief from rising imports that they claim are harming their businesses. The Alliance will provide information and support to an ongoing U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) investigation into the serious injury caused by increased imports of fresh, chilled and frozen blueberries under Section 201 of the Trade Act of 1974.
Blueberry imports are sourced from several countries in the Western Hemisphere. Imports rose by more than 60% between 2015 and 2019. Imports from Peru and Mexico have increased by 1,258% and 268% during that same period, respectively, driving blueberry prices down by double digits, which has had a negative impact on the domestic blueberry industry.
Alliance members are asking for bipartisan support from the U.S. government and Congress to use existing trade laws to support blueberry farmers and preserve and enhance a U.S.-grown blueberry supply. The Alliance is also warning that in addition to injuring domestic businesses and livelihoods, rising imports expose American consumers to products from countries with poor food safety protocols.
"We have been telling Washington about unfair trade practices for years," said Jerome Crosby, CEO of Pineneedle Farms in Georgia and head of the Alliance's steering committee. "Our family farms continue to be harmed by a flood of blueberry imports. We need relief and for our leaders to stand with American growers."
Brittany Lee, executive director of the Florida Blueberry Growers Association, added, "Many family farms have become a casualty of rising imports and are being forced out of commercial production as other countries increase production to deliberately target the U.S. market. If something is not done, we will lose the blueberry industry in the United States."
The Alliance includes blueberry growers in Georgia, Florida, Michigan and California.
The Alliance recently received support from a coalition of 32 members of the U.S. House of Representatives. In a letter to the U.S. International Trade Commission, the congressional members said: "The significant surge of imports of blueberries in recent years, the timing of such imports during U.S. harvest periods, the extremely low pricing of the imports, and the targeting of the U.S. blueberry market by foreign exporters has had a devastating impact on the blueberry industry. … As the Commission develops the evidentiary record in this case, it will be clear that imports are a substantial cause of serious injury to farmers. We urge the Commission to promptly make an affirmative determination in this regard."
The ITC plans to hold hearings in early 2021 and then deliver a report on blueberry injury and remedies to the White House. Under Section 203, the President then determines what action to take. To support this investigation, Alliance members are providing data and evidence on how blueberry imports are impacting their production, pricing and marketing activities, especially during the critical U.S. spring and summer harvesting seasons.
For more information, visit americanblueberrygrowers.com.
SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Food Safety Net Services (FSNS), a market leader in food safety testing, auditing and education, has released its 2021 education course schedule to assist the food industry in meeting food safety and quality measures within processing plants and among manufacturing personnel.
The courses offered provide access to the food industry’s technical authorities and include training in SQF, BRCGS Food – Issue 8, HACCP, internal auditing, microbiology and food safety, and FSPCA preventive controls.
Most courses are conveniently offered both online and in-person:*
HACCP Training Course
Jan. 13-14 | San Antonio, Texas
Feb. 24-25 | Amarillo, Texas
March 10-11 | Boise, Idaho
March 24-25 | Green Bay, Wis.
April 21-22 | Allentown, Pa.
May 26-27 | Columbus, Ohio
June 2-3 | Fresno, Calif.
July 21-22 | Omaha, Neb.
Aug. 12-13 | Greeley, Colo.
Sept. 15-16 | Green Bay, Wis.
Oct. 20-21 | Commerce, Calif.
Nov. 10-11 | Grand Prairie, Texas
Dec. 7-8 | San Antonio, Texas
Microbiology and Food Safety 101 Course
Jan. 9 | Commerce, Calif.
Jan. 12 | Dodge City, Kan.
Feb. 23 | San Antonio, Texas
March 23 | Omaha, Neb.
April 27 | Green Bay, Wis.
May 4 | Grand Prairie, Texas
May 18 | Tucker, Ga.
June 15 | Greeley, Colo.
July 13 | Boise, Idaho
Aug. 24 | Columbus, Ohio
Sept. 21 | Allentown, Pa.
Oct. 5 | Phoenix, Ariz.
Nov. 9 | Amarillo, Texas
Nov. 16 | Springdale, Ark.
Dec. 7 | Fresno, Calif,
SQF / Internal Auditing
Feb. 2-4 | Tucker, Ga.
March 2-4 | Grand Prairie, Texas
July 13-15 | Greeley, Colo.
Sept. 14-16 | Columbus, Ohio
Microbiology and Food Safety 202
Feb. 24 | San Antonio, Texas
April 28 | Green Bay, Wis.
June 16 | Greeley, Colo.
Sept. 22 | Allentown, Pa.
Internal Auditing (Compliant to BRC Standards)
April 1 | Omaha, Neb.
June 24 | Green Bay, Wis.
Aug. 6 | San Antonio, Texas
Nov. 18 | Fresno, Calif.
Dec. 2 | Dodge City, Kan.
Internal Auditing (Compliant to SQF Standards)
Feb. 4 | Tucker, Ga.
March 4 | Grand Prairie, Texas
July 15 | Greeley, Colo.
Sept. 16 | Columbus, Ohio
FSPCA Preventive Controls for Animal Food
May11-13 | Allentown, Pa.
Oct. 12-14 | Boise, Idaho
FSPCA Preventive Controls for Human Food
Jan. 26-28 | San Antonio, Texas
April 13-15 | Tucker, Ga.
June 15-17 | Green Bay, Wis.
Aug. 10-12 | Allentown, Pa.
Nov. 3-5 | Fresno, Calif.
March 18-19 | Greeley, Colo.
Dec. 14-15 | Omaha, Neb.
BRCGS Food – Issue 8 Sites Training and Internal Auditing
*Course format TBD
March 30-April 1 | Omaha, Neb.
June 22-24 | Green Bay, Wis.
Aug. 4-6 | San Antonio, Texas
Nov. 16-18 | Fresno, Calif.
Nov. 30-Dec. 2 | Dodge City, Kan.
Advanced HACCP / Preventive Controls
April 6-7 | San Antonio, Texas
April 14-15| Green Bay, Wis.
June 9 -10 | Greeley, Colo.
Oct. 27-28 | Boise, Idaho
Dec. 14-15 | Tucker, Ga.
To learn more, visit FSNS Education Courses.