by: Carl Melville,  The Melville Group.

The state-based food ingredient ban trend continues to escalate. In the latest insanity, the state of Indiana has decided that HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) is harmful to its citizens. The Indiana HFCS ban would prohibit HFCS products in their state, irrespective of countervailing concerns. The impact of such a ban on consumers in Indiana and elsewhere would be significant.

Like many bad ideas, this movement started in California. In a state that never met a regulation it didn’t like, the nanny state announced a ban on four food ingredients in October 2023. Those four ingredients are Red dye No. 3, Potassium bromate, Brominated vegetable oil, and Propylparaben.

Eagerly supported by the governor and presidential hopeful Gavin Newsom, this feel-good legislation is just the latest in a long line of shortsighted regulation from Sacramento. In a state with the highest gasoline prices, the highest electric prices, many of the highest food prices, ever-escalating rents, and a choking regulatory environment, this is just one more burden on California consumers with questionable health benefits.

Indiana’s announced HFCS ban promises to be even more disruptive than California’s. Left unchecked, these knee-jerk reactions will drive production costs, supply chain costs, and, ultimately, retail food prices skyward. Uncoordinated feel-good legislation like this will also create spot shortages, product confusion, SKU proliferation, and a synthetic market for products bootlegged from adjoining states.

Meanwhile, Illinois Governor and wide-eyed presidential hopeful JB Pritzker was quick to play follow-the-follower and announced a ban similar to California’s. Located in the heart of America’s breadbasket, Illinois is also a significant food manufacturing center. Segregating the Illinois supply chain would represent challenges even more massive than California’s, creating havoc for producers, grocers, and consumers nationwide.

Is HFSC dangerous?

Does the Indiana legislature know something about food science that the USDA does not? To be fair, there is growing concern, and the use of high fructose corn syrup has been dropping steadily and at an increasing rate. Many people would be surprised to learn that according to the USDA, 2021, the consumption of HFCS was 39.5 pounds per person. Also, it is worth noting that since 1999, the per capita consumption of HFSC has dropped by 40% in the US from a high of 66 pounds per person.

Many experts believe that this trend will continue downward for several contributing reasons. Any regulation to reduce or eliminate a widely used ingredient must be balanced against the overall risk to the public, the complexity of removing it, and the unintended consequences of doing so.

The collective and growing impact of these bans on food production, supply chains, and food prices is still being calculated. Taken together, bans like this amount to individual states and their vote-getting legislators overriding and derailing the thoughtful work of non-political regulatory agencies. Hijacking this process at a state level is not only harmful to Indiana, Illinois, and California residents but will have an outsized impact on consumers nationwide.

Who do you trust more? This is about much more than HFCS or any other ingredient. Taken to its logical conclusion, we arrive at one central question. Would you prefer that control of the US food supply — unquestionably the world’s most complex, safest, and best-regulated food supply be governed by fact-based science or the whims of state politicians, lobbyists, and other opportunists? Those of us who work in the food industry are aware I have an 8 AM, but let’s do it. I need the company more so than the caffeine. But both sound good Of the rigor, quality control, and testing that ingredients undergo.

We have a highly integrated and incredibly complex national food supply. Regulating it requires national agencies and regulatory bodies that can take into account the full scope and complexities of these issues. States’ rights are a wonderful thing, and there are many domains where states should and do exert their influence and determine their destiny. Upending the national food supply should not be one of them.

United Call to Action: The food industry needs to present a united front to thwart this growing trend of state-based feel-good legislation and educate consumers on the quality, safety, and robustness of the US food supply. While far from perfect, the US food supply safely and affordably feeds 1/3 of a billion people daily. We should think twice before putting that at risk.

In recent years, environmental, social, and governance (also known as ESG) considerations have become increasingly essential considerations for businesses that manufacture food. This is due to the fact that customers are becoming more aware of the environmental and social implications of the things they buy and are demanding that businesses take action to address these concerns as a result of this awareness.

The requirement for food contract manufacturing enterprises to decrease their environmental footprint is one of the most important effects that ESG has on these industries. This involves lowering emissions of greenhouse gases, as well as cutting down on water use and trash production. Additionally, it is required of businesses to acquire materials in a manner that does not affect the environment and use as few toxic chemicals and pesticides as possible.

  • Environmental considerations:
    • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions
    • Minimizing water usage
    • Reducing waste generation
    • Sourcing ingredients sustainably
    • Minimizing the use of harmful chemicals and pesticides
  • Social considerations:
    • Ensuring fair treatment of workers
    • Ensuring product safety for consumers
    • Supporting local communities
    • Promoting diversity and inclusion
  • Governance considerations:
    • Transparency in operations
    • Strong ethical and compliance systems
    • A diverse and independent board of directors
  • Reputational and financial risks for companies that fail to address ESG issues
  • Competitive advantage for companies that are proactive in addressing ESG issues
  • Increasing consumer demand for products that align with ESG values
  • Compliance with regulations and standards related to ESG, such as the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

It’s also worth mentioning that due to the ESG integration in investment strategies, companies are also facing pressure from investors to report and improve their ESG performance, this can be a driver for companies to improve their ESG practices.

For businesses that manufacture f ood, social issues are rapidly becoming an increasingly essential factor. This involves ensuring that employees are treated in a just manner and that items are safe for customers to ingest in their food. Additionally, it is required of businesses to help the communities in which they operate and to encourage inclusiveness and diversity.

Last but not least, food contract manufacturing corporations are beginning to place a greater emphasis on governance issues. This involves making certain that businesses are open and honest about the ways in which they do business and that they have robust ethics and compliance management processes in place. Additionally, it is anticipated businesses that will have robust boards of directors that are both diverse and autonomous in their decision-making.

Overall, the influence of ESG criteria on food contract manufacturing enterprises is enormous, and businesses that fail to address these concerns may suffer threats to both their brand and their finances. However, businesses that take the initiative to address environmental, social, and governance (ESG) concerns may be able to obtain a competitive edge in the market.

TMG  helps contract manufacturers and contract packagers prepare for ESG inquiries from branded Food and CPG customers.

 

 

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is a key piece of legislation that was signed into law by President Obama in 2011. The law went into effect in 2011. By moving the focus from responding to outbreaks of foodborne disease to avoiding epidemics of such illnesses, the legislation intends to modernize and enhance the food safety system in the United States. The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) has had a substantial effect on food contract manufacturing enterprises as a result of the additional regulatory standards that it has imposed and the heightened attention that it has enhanced.

The mandate that food facilities prepare and follow a food safety plan is one of the most important aspects of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). This plan is required to incorporate a hazard analysis and risk-based preventative controls (HARPC), which are aimed at mitigating the risks that may be posed by the facility’s activities and the goods it produces. Additionally, the facility is required to carry out a hazard analysis in order to determine and assess the potential risks that are associated with the food that it manufactures, and then it must put in place preventive controls in order to reduce or eliminate the possibility of those risks occurring.

The requirement that food facilities create a supply-chain policy that addresses dangers that may be introduced during the transportation of food is another essential component of the FSMA. This section mandates that food facilities must comply with the requirement. This comprises the implementation of steps to check the safety of food suppliers and ensuring that the food is not contaminated or misbranded while it is being transported. In addition, this includes ensuring that the food is not being sold under an incorrect brand name.

Additionally, the FSMA imposed additional mandates on facilities, requiring them to carry out environmental monitoring and testing in order to identify and eliminate the existence of germs that might be hazardous to the production environment.

In addition, the FSMA imposed additional obligations on facilities, such as the need that they keep records of their food safety operations, such as the outcomes of hazard analyses and preventative control measures, and that they make such data accessible to the FDA upon request.

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) also included additional mandates that establishments must comply with, such as registering with the FDA, providing advance notification before importing food into the United States, and allowing the FDA access to the facility for inspection purposes.

Additionally, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) mandated additional criteria for facilities to fulfill the standards for foreign supplier verification programs (FSVP) for importers of food for people and animals, in addition to mandating that third-party auditors be accredited.

In a nutshell, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) has resulted in the establishment of a variety of new regulatory standards and an increase in the level of scrutiny directed against food contract manufacturing companies. Now more than ever, businesses have an obligation to place a primary emphasis on the prevention of foodborne illnesses by putting into place food safety policies, supply-chain procedures, and environmental monitoring. In addition to this, they are required to keep records of the food safety activities they participate in, register with the FDA, and comply with the new standards for international supplier verification procedures as well as the accreditation of third-party auditors. In the event that these rules are not complied with, there may be hefty fines and penalties imposed.