If you’ve blinked, you may have missed that an entire month of 2017 has already passed. But there’s still ample time to monitor the food safety trends that are proving out so far this year.

More refined consumer demands and an ever-shifting regulatory environment are remaining at forefront of the food safety industry again in 2017. As manufacturers and producers try to keep up, understanding the most pressing trends can help determine where to focus efforts.

Here are three of the top food safety trends in the industry for 2017:

1. Continued Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Ripples Throughout the Industry

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s key legislation aimed at preventing food safety problems, including foodborne illness, will continue to impact the food industry in a major way in 2017.  On December 21, 2016, the FDA released its updated strategy for FSMA implementation and training.

In it, they outlined the finalized foundational rules for implementing FSMA, including the Preventative Controls for Human and Animal Food, Produce Safety, and Foreign Supplier Verification Programs. As outlined in the report, food industry training of all types will be critical for successful FSMA implementation.

Chestnut Labs engages these issues for food manufacturers through specialized training and education offerings, consulting and auditing services. Educators will continue to monitor FSMA training curricula and provide relevant guidance and training for business-critical issues.

2. Ongoing Growth in the Natural and Organic Foods Market

There seems to be an insatiable appetite for organic and natural foods, with production in that market estimated to grow by as much as 16% annually through 2020, according to CNBC. With startups entering the marketing at unprecedented rates and major companies pivoting to offer new products, the composition of food is shifting.

In this shift, artificial preservatives, colors and dyes are being eliminated from both human and animal food products. How does this impact the food supply, and how does it modify the shelf life of products? Researchers are hard at work to validate the safety of these products. As new products enter the market, suppliers will need to avoid costly recalls and potential consumer health issues by verifying product safety on the front end.

Chestnut Labs researchers are available to design or consult on research programs for shelf life studies, validation studies for both plants and processes/machinery, and challenge studies. This research helps ensure that health food products are actually healthy and credible.


The first two trends inform this third one, as organizations approach food production with more considerations about costs, quality control, and record-keeping. From sourcing to packaging and tracking, ingredients and finished food products are coming from all over the world. The FSMA Foreign Supplier Verification Program helps ensure that standards for this global supply chain are consistent with domestic manufacturers, and the race is on for each step of the supply chain to prove compliance.

According to IRRC Institute, advanced robotics are also impacting the production and testing industries like never before. Robotics enter the realm of labor costs, safety and hygiene, production times, health issues from repetitive production behaviors, and climates, among others. Approximately 10% of robotics orders are now related to food and consumer goods, and orders are trending upward. Nestle was among the first to embark on major robotics projects with its recent move to install a fully automated storage and material handling system for baby and infant food.

No matter which of these food trends impacts your organization, Chestnut Labs is here to serve as a trusted partner for food safety. Have a great rest of 2017!

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