Food Automation - Impact of the Food Safety Modernization Act
In December of 2010 The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) became the law of the land with President Obama's signature.
And has been heralded as the most sweeping reform of our food safety laws in more then 70 years:
May 19, 2011 Michael R. Taylor Deputy Commissioner for Foods U.S. Food and Drug Administration
“This new law is historic in part because it overhauls for the first time in more than 70 years the basic statutory tool kit on which we have been relying to tackle foodborne illness."
"The Food Safety Modernization Act is historic also because it establishes in law a new public health paradigm for FDA’s food safety program. The new law shifts our food safety focus from reaction and response to prevention of the problems that can make people sick -- from catching food safety problems after the fact to systematically building in prudent preventive measures across the food system, from the farm to the table.”
The laws ultimate goal:
As stated by Mr. Michael Taylor, Deputy Commissioner for Foods - U.S. Food and Drug Administration:
April 6, 2011
“Our goal is an integrated national food safety system.”
Delivery by Michael Taylor, Deputy Commissioner for Foods, before the Food and Drug Law Institute, Washington, D.C.
Food Safety Modernization Act influence on the use of robotics in food automation systems:
The benefits of implementing robotics in the food and beverage sector are various:
Why Invest in Robots
- Reduced operating costs
- Improved product quality and consistency
- Improved quality of work for employees
- Increased production output
- Increased manufacturing flexibility
- Reduced waste, increased yield
- Improved workplace health and safety compliance
- Reduced employee turnover
- Reduced capital costs
- Improved, space-saving footprints
With the Food Safety Modernization act increasing Food Safety can be added to the list of benefits Robotic Automation in the Food and Beverage sector can realize.
"There's a lot more attention being paid to food safety" confirms Dick Motley, senior account manager, national distribution sales for FANUC Robotics, Rochester Hills, Michigan.
ABB points out in their White Paper-FDA and USDA Certified Robotic Food Processing Systems that "food borne diseases account for an estimated 76 million illnesses, 350,000 hospitalizations, and 5,000 deaths every year in the United States, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention."
Incorporating robotics in the food manufacturing chain not only mitigates the risk of food contamination by reducing human to food contact, but can also potentially play a bigger role by providing tracking and tracing capabilities so products that are contaminated can quickly and easily be quarantined. "You can get very accurate production counts out of a robot and understand exactly what it handled" Mr. Motley of FANUC Robotics stated.
Robotic automation never tires, performs faster and more accurately then human labor, can be readily reprogrammed to handle any number of product SKU's, is able to function in harsh environments, such as extreme cold and can be programmed to execute a wide variety of applications.
The most common robotic applications in the Food and Beverage sector continue to be:
But robotic manufacturers and system integrators like KLEENLine servicing the automation needs of the Food and Beverage sector are not limiting themselves to these application types; "There are applications where robots are performing cutting operations on different meat products" FANUC's Mr. Motley points out.
Weighing the benefits of Robotic Automation in the Food and Beverage Sector is much more then simply performing an ROI analysis and referencing its subsequent payoff timeline but looking holistically at all of the benefits robotic automation can bring, to include safe guarding our food supply.