By Andre Biane

The food safety risk to global brands has never been higher, which means one pillar in the mission of AIB International will never change: We will continue to help our clients build solid food safety programs for their entire supply chain. At the end of the day, it’s all about protecting food brands and the trust companies have with their customers.

In 2017, AIB plans to capitalize on our momentum from last year and help the industry with the ever-changing regulatory climate by renovating and expanding our service portfolio. That ranges from advancing food safety fundamentals to complying with complicated regulations like FSMA.

FOOD SAFETY FUNDAMENTALS. On the fundamentals, we recently updated our Consolidated Standards for Inspection. Since these are global standards, we plan to reach as many clients as possible early in the year to educate them on the changes and how their food safety programs will be impacted.

We also have renovated our Food Defense Coordinator course and launched a course on FDA Preparedness Inspection. In the near future we will have new offerings to address the sanitary transport requirements and an online HARPC course that will address qualified individual training requirements at the supervisory level.

The kill step validation research, conducted in partnership with the American Bakers Association, Kansas State University, and the University of Georgia, has generated six calculators for the baking industry. Three more are planned to be launched in 2017.

These tools enable bakeries to address the FSMA requirement to validate that the commercial baking process does indeed kill pathogens. We also continue to assist bakeries with their onsite needs, a trend we anticipate will carry through 2017.

NEW PARTNERSHIPS. In 2016, we established partnerships in Mexico, China, and Europe where we can leverage good lab facilities to provide local hands-on training. In the U.S., we will continue to leverage our upgraded Manhattan, Kan., facilities for client-based R&D and quality assurance projects.

We are also positioned to help the food and beverage industry comply with the new FDA labeling regulations. This not only includes generating labels under the new protocol, but also educating exporters to the U.S. and training labeling specialists who need a higher level of technical capability.

In 2017, our commercial team is focusing on strategic multinational clients across the U.S., Latin America, and Europe. It is imperative for us to listen carefully to them.

The challenges are different in different parts of the world. FSMA is a great example. It has been and will continue to be front and center for many companies operating in and exporting to the U.S. In many developing markets the needs are around the basics — GMPs, HACCP, integrated pest management, and hygiene practices.

The food safety service industry is highly competitive. We have to reach the influencers and decision makers through multiple media vehicles. Otherwise, “if we are out of sight we are out of mind.”

We have a lot of momentum to make 2017 a break-out year for AIB International.

Andre Biane is AIB President & CEO.