New Food Processing Data Regs. Machine Builder Beware

For those of you who have machines and automation systems in the food and beverage industry, prepare to become better acquainted with The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) of 2011, if you aren't right now. It’s said to be one of the most sweeping legislative actions relative to Food Safety and Regulatory oversight, and it will impact the data gathering and sharing activities of food and beverage companies with its eventual implementation, particularly in food processing segments that previously were not regulated.

JLS Automation provides automation solutions for the food industry focused on primary and secondary packaging operations. During Rockwell’s Automation Fair last week, JLS’s president, Craig Souser, presented a brief overview of its implications to machine builder and, by extension, the industry’s manufacturing companies.

“To me this is about food safety and it is preventive in nature,” Souser believes. “About 3,000 people died last year from food-borne illnesses."

This also impacts the products packaging industry and drives the need for collaboration between equipment suppliers and their end customers. “Ease of sanitation and subsequent validation requirements will impact design considerations,” Souser stated.

Towards its activities in this new user requirement, JLS has begun to integrate FactoryTalk Historian Server in its automation system to provide tracking, traceability and validation data throughout the packaging process. “These are new items for us that we’re starting to integrate into our solutions. We’re starting to do this now because we know the customer is going to have to have down the road.”

Joe Feeley is editor in chief for Control Design and Industrial Networking. Email him at or check out his Google+ profile.