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Copacker Insight: Process Authority - What are they and why do we need them?

Updated: Apr 30

Welcome! Copacker Search Wisdom


An important part of ensuring a safe product is setting parameters that are proven to meet quality and safety standards. Who sets these parameters? A Process Authority. So what are they?


A Process Authority in the food and beverage industry is an individual or entity with expertise in food safety, microbiology, and food processing. They are responsible for assessing and approving specific food processing procedures to ensure that they meet safety standards and regulatory requirements.


Process Authorities play a critical role in developing, reviewing, and approving processes such as canning, pasteurization, and other preservation methods to ensure that they effectively eliminate or control harmful microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can cause foodborne illnesses.


Their expertise is often required in areas such as:

1. Determining safe processing parameters (e.g., time and temperature) for various food products.

2. Evaluating the adequacy of processing equipment and facilities.

3. Reviewing and approving HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) plans.

4. Providing guidance on food safety regulations and standards.

Process Authorities may work within government agencies and food safety organizations or be hired by food manufacturers and processors to ensure that their products meet safety requirements and are fit for consumption.


Now that we understand what a Process Authority is, let's review why they are important. There are more reasons than you may think. Obtaining a Process Authority letter is important for several reasons, particularly if you are involved in the production, processing, or handling of food and beverages. Here are some key reasons why you might consider getting a Process Authority letter:


1. Regulatory Compliance: In many jurisdictions, regulatory agencies require food manufacturers to have documented evidence that their food processing procedures have been reviewed and approved by a qualified Process Authority. Having a Process Authority letter demonstrates your commitment to complying with food safety regulations and standards.


2. Food Safety Assurance: Process Authorities help ensure that your food processing procedures effectively control or eliminate harmful microorganisms that can cause foodborne illnesses. By following approved processing methods endorsed by a Process Authority, you can minimize the risk of contamination and ensure the safety of your products.


3. Liability Protection: In the event of a food safety incident or outbreak, having a Process Authority letter can serve as evidence that you took reasonable steps to ensure the safety of your products. This can be crucial in defending against legal claims and liabilities.


4. Customer Confidence: Consumers are increasingly concerned about food safety and are more likely to trust products that have been processed using approved methods endorsed by qualified experts. Displaying a Process Authority letter or mentioning it in your marketing materials can help build trust and confidence in your brand.


5. Access to Markets: Some distribution channels, retailers, or export markets may require proof of compliance with food safety standards, including approval by a Process Authority before they accept your products. Having a Process Authority letter can open up opportunities for you to access new markets and distribution channels.


Expert Tip - Don't ever let a copacker tell you that they can get a process after the product is run. ALWAYS have a letter, if required, before your product is run. After all, how can you ensure your product is being run with effective quality parameters when your product hasn't been assigned any yet?


Overall, obtaining a Process Authority letter demonstrates your commitment to producing safe and high-quality food products, helps you comply with regulations, and can enhance your credibility and market access. Prices for Process Authorities vary but are fairly inexpensive.


As Always, Happy Hunting!


The CVL Team

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