Today’s diversified industrial environment, more than ever before, possesses a plethora of philosophies focused on health maintenance, nutrition and all sorts of evaluations and critiques of beverages and foods consumed by humans. Wherever you go, whomever you contact and everything you see in the beverage arena, in some manner, is governed by regulatory jurisdiction.
Based on contacts with beverage manufacturers, the dialogue indicates a majority are aware of federal and local agencies whose primary functions are to establish procedures, regulations, and rules for food and beverages, and monitor required compliance covered by the regulations/rules (R/R). Further checking indicated that although the majority is aware of the agencies, a large number of beverage manufacturers are not familiar with how many regulations or rules exist and exactly the ones in which they are obliged to comply.
From an operations perspective, observations and experience substantiate the importance of ensuring that persons responsible for R/R compliance in the beverage processing environment are knowledgeable of these agencies, their function, what specific requirements are or are not applicable to the beverage manufacturer on a continuing periodic basis.
Also, from an operations perspective, compliance with various R/R can be extensive and expensive depending upon the agency and the products or issue involved. The majority of beverage producers prioritize compliance measures that might involve any one of several regulatory organizations.
The following is information on some of these important agencies:
THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION (FDA):
A large complex organization with many sub-categories; however, from category review related directly to beverages, it can be concluded that main concerns pertain to the beverage ingredients and whether they have been approved for human consumption.
Upon reviewing the Code of Federal Regulation (CFR) Title 21, Food and Beverages is listed as one category with sections outlining specific materials or procedures. As indicated, most details pertain to original formulae (franchisors, licensors or independent flavor houses), developed by those who have the responsibility for FDA approval before granting permission to manufacturers. Major beverage formula creators are familiar with operational and legal procedures to follow. For example, the FDA has ingredients testing sources for safety, quantity, strength and other quantitative measures before final approval and regulations. The FDA ingredient regulation is listed on product labels; therefore, originators amidst such research and legal steps can say “FDA approved.”
What does this mean? It means the beverage creator must comply with the FDA approved formula and materials. It also means beverage producers must review current R/R that might affect changes in products to ensure they are in sync. In addition to the FDA regulations, the grantor of permission to produce might establish additional regulations or rules when the finished product is manufactured. This might involve specified storage areas for raw materials to prevent pilferage, damage or subversion. To this end, it is suggested that the quality assurance persons in any organization become knowledgeable with the FDA and licensor requirements.
OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION (OSHA):
Certain laws makes the employer responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace for employees
From an engineering viewpoint, OSHA compliance is usually part of a plant safety program. Updated beverage plants have programs to ensure that issues like lighting, noise, air quality, safe conditions [work areas, traffic areas], cleaning procedures (safety switches) protective clothing (shoes, glasses, gloves, head cover) and color coding of hazard areas are addressed and monitored by periodic safety meetings so that the plant’s compliance position can be evaluated and updated. Experience indicates prevention activity is worth pounds of cure. OSHA R/R have changed because the nature of beverage plant conditions have changed, therefore, compliance in this area should be a priority.
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (EPA):
This agency primarily is concerned with how beverage plants affect the immediate or surrounding environment. Observation and experience with this agency indicates that beverage-producing facilities usually are confronted with two main environmental issues.
The first issue is solid waste in the form of paper, plastic or some other recyclable material. The rules govern how various materials can and/or should be handled. If no substantial effort is being made, a plant could be subject to penalties.
The second issue, and perhaps more important, is liquid waste discharged from the plant resulting either from manufacturing processes or the sanitation and cleanup activity. In this situation, a facility can be subject to EPA rules and local regulations that might have an immediate effect on a location’s infrastructure. In some instances, pre-treatment capability can be required or penalties can be incurred for non-compliance.
Regardless of the agency involved, it has been shown that if the expense of prudent compliance is well worth the investment, it will not disappear. BI