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Food Industry Help Desk

Food Industry Help Desk

We are the Food Manufacturing Experts. 

Got a question? We can help. Fill out this brief form and one of our food industry experts will be in touch within the next two business days.

Help Desk Submission

Other Food Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do we automatically meet FSMA requirements if we have SQF certification? 

A: SQF /GFCI and SQF/BRC work closely with the FDA on developing the FSMA requirements. Two requirements that are included in FSMA are not protected by SQF/BRC, which are PCQI, FSVP and possibly the newest regulations of the Adulteration of Human Foods.

As the MEP center, we recommend, and the FDA requires, that each manufacturing location have a registered PCQI and are aware of FSVR requirements. Because of the importance of these competencies, we suggest backups and for there to be multiple trained individuals. The cost of training for these courses is relatively inexpensive (~$750 – $1,000) as compared to the cost / expense of failing an FDA Audit.

PCQI can be a company employee or an outside consultant. The PCQI is the only person that can sign a food safety plan in a facility. If and when the FDA audits a particular facility, they will know if you have a registered PCQI for your facility. The audit will be tempered if you do.


Q: What happened to HACCP? 

A: Preventative controls (PCQI) identifies certain points in the manufacturing line that can cause food safety issues as well as the problems when they occur. The new FSMA regulations are preventative in nature. That is why they are called Preventative Controls for Human Food.


Q: Am I required to have FSVP (Foreign Supplier Verification Program) training? 

A: No, you are not required to have FSVP program training. You are required to comply with the law. Violation of stated requirements is subject to penalties, both criminal and civil. 


Q: What are the levels of certification you can receive in the food industry? 

A: There are two separate segments to compliance: 

Government Compliance – rules and regulations required by the FDA and potentially by the local governments.

Commercial Compliance – requirements put forth by a client or purchaser on a manufacturer. 

The commercial compliance is at multiple levels and requires a third-party audit from companies such as NSF, ABI, etc. They will begin their audits by reviewing your SOPs and GMPs, auditing you periodically, and providing you with a quality score.   

Third-party audits on GMP’s is the minimum requirement many large retailers ask manufacturers to comply with. Higher level Food Safety Certifications include – SQF, BRC, FSSC 22000. The most popular one in the U.S. is SQF, followed by BRC, which can be for both distributors and manufacturers. FSSC 22000 is the closest thing to ISSO certification and goes beyond food safety and quality throughout the whole business process.  Both SQF and BRC, depending on how prepared you are for the audit, takes six months to a year to get audited and certified.  


Q: Where can I get training on these certifications? 

A: They are provided by  your MEP Center. Click here for the full list.


Q: Can you help me with other areas in food production? 

A: Missouri Enterprise assists with plant operations efficiency under the umbrella of lean manufacturing processes. In many cases, the individuals or consultants providing the assistance have experience in the production and manufacturing of food. MEP centers also assist with identifying employees, HR practices, and grant writing assistance.


Q: What are SQF and BRC used for?

A: Many large retailers and/or manufacturers require BRC or SQF certification, which is a minimum requirement to initially be on a bidder’s list. Many require your certification after 6 to 8 months. Because of this, we consider these certifications as a growth platform; giving manufacturers the ability to sell products in locations they did not previously have the ability to do.


Q: Can you tell me what the latest food labeling requirements are and did they change in the last 12 months?

A: We offer a summary of what these changes are. The new labeling requirements are available here.  


Q: Are government subsidies available to help me follow FSMA? 

A: R&D Tax Credits are available from the federal government, and in some cases the state government. They represent 6 to 10 percent in QRE – Qualified Research Expenses. Examples of QRE’s are development of new recipes, implementation and training on new machinery and new manufacturing techniques. The funding on these tax credits can be applied to business needs, but we advise reinvesting it in preparation for FSMA.


Q: I need to move to a new facility. Can a MEP center help? 

A: Yes, we have alliances with the EDA organizations in every county. We can connect you with authorities that can help.

Food Safety in the Heartland

Protecting America's Breadbasket

Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska are home to hundreds of animal and human food manufacturing companies.  These businesses are critical to the Heartland's economy and communities.  The success of these businesses, and the safety of their customers, have a correlation to their food manufacturing processes.  

FSH LOGO HQThe “Food Safety in the Heartland” partnership, which includes Missouri Enterprise, MAMTC and the Nebraska Manufacturing Extension Partnership, is an initiative of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership National Network that includes Missouri Enterprise and MEP centers in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.  This coalition has been brought together to help food manufacturers with food safety.  Food safety covers such a broad range of issues that it’s almost impossible for one person to be an expert in everything.  With the coalition’s combined resources, Missouri Enterprise is able to cover any challenge you may face.

2011 Food Safety Modernization Act

Missouri Enterprise is working to help Missouri manufacturers become compliant with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) requirements and reduce manufacturers’ exposure to fines, potential liability risks and negative customer impacts.  FSMA, which became final in September 2015, requires food facilities to have a food safety plan in place that includes an analysis of hazards and risk-based preventive controls to minimize or prevent the identified hazards. Learn more about the FSMA through these videos:

Certification and Compliance

Why it matters

Meeting customer demands and the array of food safety standards can be an intimidating challenge even for larger companies with dedicated internal resources. For smaller food manufacturers, the challenge is even greater. But every company has an obligation to its customers to provide safe and quality food. In addition, a growing number of companies require their producers and suppliers to implement a certification program. Certification to a GFSI-certified standard (e.g., SQF, IFS, BRC, FSSC 22000) demonstrates that a company is working actively to manage its food safety risks.

To survive and grow profitable, companies must implement and manage effective food safety strategies. Food manufacturers that achieve the highest levels of compliance and possess key certifications expand their potential customer base and have the greatest opportunity for growth. 

Connecting Compliance and Certification

It is difficult for companies to devote the resources required to maintain compliance activities at a sustained and satisfactory level—but it is essential. Missouri Enterprise understands the importance of developing and maintaining key internal controls that ensure the reliability of compliance systems and meet certification requirements.

Our experts help companies select the food safety standard that best aligns with business objectives and capabilities to ensure that compliance methods are optimized. We then manage the entire compliance and certification readiness process, working directly with onsite employees to mitigate risks, ensure certification, enhance market reputation, and drive business performance.

Our Compliance/Certification Services:

  • FDA/FSMA compliance
  • GFSI/HACCP/GMP certification readiness
  • FSSC 22000, IFS, SQF, BRC certification consulting
  • HACCP food safety plan development
  • HACCP-certified training
  • Training for internal auditors
  • Internal audit process development
  • Process verification/validation
  • Process improvement and redesign

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Company Testimonials

Don't just take our word

When we work with companies, we take it personal -- so much that we consider ourselves as an extension of their team. But for some of our clients, we are grateful to be viewed as members of their work family. Here are just a few food manufacturers we partner with to grow the industry and help them achieve success.

Food Companies We Partner With:

No Cost Company Health Assessment

We can all get stuck in the day-to-day operations without truly being able to see the pain points in the overall big picture. Sometimes it takes an outside perspective and input to get all the gears moving in the right direction. Our Business Excellence Assessment tool is a holistic approach to turning over every stone to find opportunity and give manufacturers insight they need to implement transformation. This no-cost assessment allows us to examine your company through the lenses that every manufacturing company in Missouri is important and vital in protecting our overall economy and prosperity. Following the online assessment, our experts will sit down with you and your leadership team to review the results. Here, YOUR company will self-discover the challenges and determine both the solutions and next steps.

Fill out this brief form and we will be in touch in the coming days to schedule the assessment. 

Business Excellence Assessment

We view Jimmy Story of Missouri Enterprise as more than an advisor -- he is our friend. Before we make any moves, we always reach out to Jimmy. He has our best interest in mind and with his connections to the agriculture world and expertise working in food for so long, he is a treasure-trove of information. Our products are in grocery stores and now making our way into public institutions such as schools and hospitals.
Capture- Domenic Giofre

Domenic Giofre Giofre Apiaries - Missouri honey producer

With the expertise and assistance of Missouri Enterprise and their experienced Project Managers, we were able to work towards meeting the safety compliance of Whole Foods and get our products on their shelves. We couldn’t have done it without them! We’re already looking forward to implementing phase 2 with Missouri Enterprise as soon as we’re ready. The team at Missouri Enterprise is incredibly knowledgeable, and they are the nicest people. 


Kim Przybyl Cool Canine Natural Dog Treats