The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), signed into law earlier this year, represents the first major overhaul of the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA) food-safety provisions since 1938. The legislation significantly enhances FDA’s ability to oversee the millions of food products the U.S. imports each year. It also impacts the entire processing and packaging supply chain, instituting new requirements for recordkeeping, more frequent FDA inspections and new inspection requirements.

Meat processors working to comply with new standards will be challenged to do so as seamlessly as possible, maintaining optimum levels of productivity and minimizing downtime. This can be achieved with a total systems approach to evaluating and modifying production lines.

A total systems approach helps to unify goals and standards among processing and packaging teams. When lines must be altered to comply with new food-safety standards, the teams will be better equipped to troubleshoot potential incompatibilities between front- and back-of-the-line cleaning times, machine-to-machine communications and levels of automation.

To help processors adopt this approach, PMMI has integrated processing solutions into the PACK EXPO shows. The move — stemming from attendee and exhibitor demand — gives meat, poultry and pork processers a broader, more convenient range of resources.

PACK EXPO Las Vegas 2011 (September 26-28 at the Las Vegas Convention Center) will be the largest North American trade show this year to showcase processing and packaging innovations. With more than 1,600 exhibitors, the show will broaden the sourcing horizons of meat processors. Comprehensive features also help them get in, get out and get on with business.

The Food Safety Summit Resource Center will be a helpful resource for meat processors, working to accommodate provisions of FSMA. There, leading industry and subject matter experts will be on hand to address their questions on compliance and the latest breakthroughs in food safety.

In its second year running, The Processing Zone will house innovative processing technologies that not only adhere to FSMA requirements, but also reduce waste, ensure product freshness and improve sustainability. Meat companies will also find processing solutions on display across the show floor.

Brand owners seeking materials and containers that promote product freshness and prevent contamination will find a wide range of choices in The Brand Zone. This area will feature the latest advances in plastic, paperboard, glass, labeling techniques and reclosable packaging options.

The Conference at PACK EXPO will offer further insight on issues in food safety as well as sustainability and operational efficiency. Associations including the Alliance for Innovation & Operational Excellence (AIOE) and Institute of Packaging Professionals (IoPP) will provide educational programming. Speakers include representatives from companies including ConAgra Foods, Del Monte Foods and Smithfield Foods.

With these guide posts, meat processors will be able to access the total systems solutions required to efficiently tackle their food-safety challenges without losing site of their goals for productivity, sustainability and brand awareness.