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FSMA will ‘help’ aseptic in future, but limit US opportunities in the short-term - packaging expert

By Mark Astley+

31-May-2013
Last updated on 31-May-2013 at 13:27 GMT2013-05-31T13:27:53Z

Tetra Pak's Evero Aseptic carton bottle.
Tetra Pak's Evero Aseptic carton bottle.

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) will limit the growth of aseptic processing and packaging in the US in the short-term, but could help to drive demand for the technology in the near future, a leading US packaging technology consultant has claimed.

Speaking at yesterday’s Aseptic Technology 2013 online event , Raymond Bourque – president of US packaging consultancy firm, RAY-PAK Inc - said that in the long-term aseptic processing and packaging technology will be an attractive means of complying with FSMA regulations.

In the short-term, however, the adoption of aseptic technology may be too much of a “complexity” for food manufacturers, he said.

“For a period of time, I think that all food manufacturers will be looking at their processes in light of trying to comply with the regulations. So their first focus will be on ensuring that processes they are currently using are in compliance,” said Bourque.

“Long-term, I think it might actually help aseptic.  But in the short-term there are going to be a lot of things to do – and changing a process will be another complexity.”

Aseptic technology in “good position to comply”

RAY-PAK Inc. president, Raymond Bourque.

The FSMA was signed into law by President Obama on 4 January 2011. According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the FSMA aims to ensure the safety of the US food supply by “shifting the focus from responding to contamination to preventing it.”

Proposed FSMA regulations were made available for public comment in January 2013. The window for public comment is scheduled to close on 16 September 2013. Following this, the FDA will finalise the regulations and issue them.

According to Bourque, these proposed regulations would basically result in an expanded “HACCP analysis approach” to food manufacturing in the US.

"HACCP regulations have been in effect in the US for the seafood industry, for certain meat and poultry industry, and for 100% juice, but now under the FSMA this will be expanded to all food manufacturers."

“When we look at this we say, ‘What effect will this have on aseptic?’” said Bourque. “Again it will affect all food processors, so it will have an effect on aseptic.”

“Fortunately, I would say that aseptic processes do a lot of this anyway. The critical control points in an aseptic process are always well defined and identified. So I think aseptic is probably in a pretty good position to comply with some of these regulations."

 However, there is going to be a bit more record keeping involved," Bourque added.

Aseptic Technology 2013 on-demand

Bourque contributed to a roundtable discussion on aseptic technology at yesterday’s (30 May 2013) Aseptic Technology online event, which was hosted by DairyReporter.com’s sister sites BeverageDaily.com and FoodProductionDaily.com.

He was joined by Coca-Cola Hellenic’s Terry Rabson, Zenith International’s Esther Renfrew, and FoodProductionDaily.com US editor, Jenni Spinner.

To listen to the roundtable discussion, and other presentations given at the event, on demand, click here