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Traceability and the FSMA // April 24 2017

The FSMA deadlines are here. They represent the most significant change to US food safety laws in over 70 years, and are impacting the routine operations and planning of all players in the industry. Depending on company size, food manufacturers have 1 to 4 years to comply and meet the requirement for enhanced supply chain data tracking and management and traceability from farm to fork.

So what's new for traceability?

Traceability is far from a new concept in the food industry, but FSMA puts formal requirements around the process and assigns additional responsibilities for achieving supply chain visibility and increased control over raw materials and processes.

On top of this, under FSMA the FDA now has the authority to order a mandatory recall. During a recall, the depth and precision of the traceability system in place will determine a company's ability to precisely pinpoint contaminated batches within a reasonable timeframe - to protect the consumer as well as the brand and its reputation.

Ultimately, the traceabiity processes you have in place will need to clearly demonstrate the source of your ingredients and exactly where your finished product has gone. For many food manufacturers, this means achieving a previously unprecedented level of information management and control throughout all operational areas.

Where to start?

Start by asking yourself, at this point in time can you:

  • Account for every pound of raw material - its source and where it ended up?
  • Quickly trace any lot of raw material received through to the finished product lots?
  • Precisely account for all rework?
  • Easily trace all contact packaging through to finished goods?
  • Quickly perform a full trace back from dispatch to receiving records and ingredient suppliers?
  • Generate a full traceability report for a specified day-code, product and pallet, include ingredients receiving, process allocation, production quality results, inventory management, sales order processing and dispatch details.

Time is of the essence

Guaranteeing FSMA compliance will undoubtedly, for many companies, take time. So it is advisable that food manufacturers kick-start their compliance efforts sooner rather than later. Because of the widespread aspect of FSMA across the food industry and the complexity of the regulations, companies need to approach compliance with a project plan, adequate resources and a cross functional approach.

If you think your food traceability system needs work, SoftTrace can work with your company to identify deficiencies in your current processes, develop an approach to meeting your needs and implement a customized technology solution to meet your current and emerging requirements.

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