New Food Regulations Could Change the Supply Chain

The Lempert Report
July 24, 2020

We should expect a lot of changes, upgrades and innovation across the supply chain in the months and years to come.

As a result of Covid-19 we have witnessed first hand through empty supermarket shelves and the news media  that report the problems in our meat packing facilities, on our farms, in our transportation system – every step of the way from farm to the shelves.

The Food Safety Modernization Act was signed in 2011 after a spike in foodborne illness cases. Even though that law was adopted almost a decade ago, the cold storage and food industries are still adapting to it, according to Brian Niven, vice president of Cold Storage at Bridge Development Partners as reported by Globest.

As more people rely on online grocery services during the COVID-19 pandemic, Niven thinks new health regulations around food could be implemented.

Today, the FDA only regulates items stored in open-air conditions. “The current COVID-19 pandemic has exposed many of the weaknesses in our food supply chain, and I expect there may be calls for additional regulations on the way it is processed and stored,” Niven says.

If new requirements are adopted, Niven says there will be a massive spike in the need for new facilities, given the age of most current cold storage facilities. “The majority of current cold storage stock is outdated and would be difficult to retrofit up to new standards, so any regulations would need to be phased in over time to allow new supply to be developed,” he says.

The question is whether it is new cold storage facilities or other equipment and innovations – who is going to pay for it?