Q&A with Ashley Brooks, Regulatory Affairs Supervisor

Posted by Rebekah Wicke on 12/20/16

Ashley Brooks

A native of Maryland, Ashley graduated with a degree in Chemistry from Stevenson University and has focused on food science, regulatory and quality assurance throughout her career. When Ashley first began working at Fuchs almost a decade ago, she worked in our Microbiological lab. She eventually became a Quality Assistant Supervisor and is now our Regulatory Affairs Supervisor, specializing in domestic and international regulations. Outside of work, she enjoys cooking plant-based recipes, spoiling her three cats, and playing tennis with her husband.


Q: What are the top regulatory concerns facing our customers right now?
A: Everyone is getting ready for FSMA (Food Safety Modernization Act) to go into effect; that’s the biggest concern right now. We’re making sure that we have the documentation that our customers need, and we’re also working on getting documentation from our suppliers. Other major regulatory concerns include preparing for the Nutritional Facts Reform and the new Federal GMO Labeling Law.

Q: What trends are you seeing in terms of regulatory requests and concerns?
A: Sustainability is a trend we’ve been seeing. Clean label is becoming more prevalent; they don’t want anything artificial. There’s also definitely been a trend toward organic and non-GMO products, especially in the past 5 years. Our department provides all of the documentation our customers need for getting their products certified, so that they can make those claims.

Q: There’s been some confusion about what the differences are between organic certified and organic compliant, Non-GMO and Non-GMO Project Verified. Can you explain what the differences are?
A: Great question! So, organic certified means that at least 95% of the ingredients are certified organic by a USDA approved organization. The USDA runs the National Organic Program (NOP) which develops the standards as to what qualifies as organic. Organic compliant means that the product meets NOP’s requirements to be used in food products labeled as “organic” or “made with organic ingredients” although not certified organic in and of itself. 
When it comes to Non-GMO, there isn’t a law, just industry standards for what qualifies as Non-GMO. This will be changing soon with the announcement of a new Federal GMO Labeling Law. The Non-GMO Project, however, is an organization that has its own standards for what high risk ingredients are for GMOs and products need to meet their standards in order to be Non-GMO Project verified. We don’t get our own products verified, but we make them compliant so that our customers can have their products verified.

Q: What would you like our customers to know about our regulatory efforts?
A: I want them to know that we are happy to help in getting documentation in a timely manner. I want to emphasize that our customers should use our regulatory department. We’re always open for questions, and we really are here to be a resource for our customers. I pride myself in providing accurate information and timely information.

Q: What’s your favorite part about your role here at Fuchs?
A: I like that every day is different. I’m always continuing to learn new things!

To learn more about our Regulatory and Quality departments, click here.


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Tags: organic, non-gmo, Regulatory , FSMA, Quality