Now that 2017 is in our rear-view mirror we’ll take a brief look back and reflect on some of the events of the past year and changes we saw in the food sector.

We saw a continuation and acceleration of several trends in the food business such as non-GMO, organic, gluten-free, etc. Home grocery delivery continued to become more popular and in June of 2017 the stage was set for significant innovation in both of those areas by the purchase of Whole Foods by Amazon.com. Last year saw more start-ups entering the food space than ever before. Getting Your Recipe to Market, the food entrepreneur program of the Small Business Development Center helped launched nearly 30 new food businesses in 2017.

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is on its way to becoming the most significant piece of legislation to affect food businesses of all sizes since the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1938. In September of 2017 the Preventive Controls for Human Food Rule became effective for small food businesses (those with fewer than 500 full-time equivalent employees). Very small food businesses averaging less than $1 million per year will be required to comply with the Preventive Controls Rule in September of 2018.

Food Methods is making a significant effort toward helping food businesses comply with FSMA by assisting them in implementing a food safety system, supporting their adoption of current good manufacturing practices, and preparing written food safety plans as required by the new rules. The projects we set in motion during 2017 will continue to gain momentum in 2018.

Many people we have spoken with have wondered if FSMA would be abolished as part of the new president’s efforts to eliminate a wide range of federal regulations. Food Methods has been monitoring this matter very closely and does not believe there will be any significant changes to the law. Because the law was enacted by Congress and because it was not particularly controversial (the law was enacted after many years of collaboration by industry, education, and government participants), we do not anticipate that FSMA will be modified (or repealed) in the foreseeable future.

With all that happened at Food Methods in 2017 in the food safety realm, it’s a wonder that we had time for anything else. Yet we somehow managed to launch a new software development project late in the year. Ground was broken on version 3 of our food product costing system, Foodakin.com. We hope to be able to launch this new version within the coming months so subscribers can begin to take advantage of the new features and improvements.

More to come...