Food & Beverage (F&B) facilities make products that are intended for human consumption, therefore food safety is always an area of major concern. For over a century, compliance with the rules and regulations of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have been a driving force in the F&B processing industry, and it’s their regulation that guides U.S. Water’s food and beverage customers’ products and services. More recently, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), signed into law in 2011, has aimed to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus of federal regulators. Rather than responding to contamination, the goal is now to prevent it.
In recent years, terms such as Certified Organic, Gluten-Free, Kosher, Halal, and Non-GMO Project have been sported on labels throughout local supermarkets and have changed consumer buying habits. But, just how important are these certifications to U.S. Water’s F&B industry customers? According to the Organic Trade Association, over 82% of U.S. households buy organic products, and in 2017 Americans spent nearly $50 billion on organic products alone. It’s a big business.
Products that are labeled as Certified Organic cannot be grown using synthetic fertilizers, chemicals, or bio-engineering methods and cannot contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The National Organic Program and USDA-accredited certifying agencies oversee organic claims by inspecting F&B processing facilities to ensure they meet USDA organic standards. Similar product seals and certifications help food processors inform the public about allergen considerations (Gluten-Free), ingredient content (Non-GMO Project), religious dietary laws (Kosher and Halal) and other information. U.S. Water can assist F&B facilities with understanding these requirements to implement a compliant water treatment and sanitation program.
U.S. Water’s integrated approach combines engineering, equipment, chemicals and services, to help our customer’s meet their regulatory needs. For example, the FDA approves chemical ingredients (not products) for use in food processing plants. Therefore, U.S. Water has certified numerous chemical products that are deemed safe and suitable for the proposed end use and will provide, upon request, a Letter of Assurance (LOA) to ensure applicable regulatory compliance. And over the past year, U.S. Water has worked with a chemical supplier to bring to the marketplace water treatment defoamers that can be used as processing aids for food that is Certified Organic, Non-GMO Project and Kosher.
U.S. Water understands these certifications are extremely important to the F&B industry, and will continue to work with our growing F&B customer base to provide products and programs that meet regulatory compliance and quality assurance specifications, while increasing their system efficiency and minimizing operational costs.