As food moves through the food supply chain, a range of precautions are taken to make sure it arrives safely to those purchasing and eating it. Federal programs, such as GAP, Good Handling Practices (GHP), and GMP stipulate guidelines for agricultural and specialty food processing. FSMA is a new set of food safety laws with proposed changes that will have significant implications food processing and handling. The Massachusetts Food Code further defines sanitation requirements for food establishments in the state, and in addition to reiterating the federal GMP, lays out requirements for residential kitchens, mobile food units, and details on administration, licensing, and enforcement.
Effective manufacturing of safe food requires maintaining updated food safety standards, education for food safety law compliance, and predictability as well as consistency in regulatory enforcement. Though the FDA Food Code was last revised in 2013, the current Massachusetts Food Code is based on the FDA’s Food Code from 1999, and is in need of updating. UMass Extension has provided important resources for food entrepreneurs, farmers, and food manufacturing industry professional. As food safety becomes a greater concern and more stringent food safety laws are put in place, there is increasing need for these services. Improvements to these and other areas in food processing will ensure that food is processed using modern standards, and that the resources are available for producers and regulators to support safe food production.