Pharma Cold Chain Survey

IQPC – a leading source of information for the pharmaceutical industry, has published the results of a recent survey on current initiatives and challenges in temperature controlled distribution for pharmaceuticals.  The survey asked pharma supply chain professionals about:

  • Their most important cold chain initiatives
  • The Top two greatest concerns in pharmaceutical importation
  • Which technologies they’re considering to improve their supply chain’s integrity and security

IQPC has graciously allowed Intelleflex to distribute the survey results.  You can get a copy of the results here.

The survey results show temperature monitoring devices, temperature controlled shipping containers and track and trace technology were among the top three needs in the pharmaceutical supply chain.  Intelleflex is working with a number of companies in the pharma cold chain to help them monitor the temperature of biologics and other pharmaceuticals in-transit to improve accountability and enable real-time decision making.  You can learn more about these solutions at the Intelleflex exhibit at the IQPC Cold Chain Pharma event being held in Philadelphia in September.

I think you’ll find the survey results of interest and I hope to see you in Philly in September.

Kevin Payne

Senior Director of Marketing

1.3 Billion Tons of Food Into the Dumpster Each Year – New UN Report

Intelleflex has long been touting the urgent need to reduce perishable food waste.  A new report published by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization once again documents the need to find ways to reduce waste and improve food system efficiencies to feed a growing global population.  According to the report, approximately 1.3 billion tons of food is lost or wasted every year!  And fruits, vegetables, roots and tubers have the highest waste rates of any foods.

Together, we can help to reduce food waste

The report talks both about food waste and food loss with food waste being more of a problem in industrialized countries because people buy more than they need. More than 40% of food losses happen at the retail and consumer levels.

Food losses during harvest and in storage translate into lost income for farmers and higher prices for consumers.  The FAO study states that reducing losses could have an “immediate and significant impact” on the livelihoods of farmers as well as on food security.

Environmental Impact

The report also draws out the negative impact of waste on the global environment.  Food loss and waste represents “a major squandering of resources” including land, water, energy and labor and contributes to green house gas emissions, deforestation and climate change.

Hope?

We can make a difference. The report includes suggestions for reducing food loss and waste stating that the public and private sectors in developed countries should invest more in infrastructure, transportation, processing and packaging.  The report notes that “In middle- and high-income countries food losses and waste stem largely from consumer behavior but also from a lack of communication between different actors in the supply chain.”  It suggests that commercial organizations and charities could be working more with retailers to collect and distribute food.  My conversations with Feeding America − a very worthwhile charity that operates food banks throughout the USA − confirmed that they are seeing increased receipts of perishable food that need to be quickly distributed due to limited remaining shelf life.

What Can We Do?

The report states that “…given the limited availability of natural resources, it is more effective to reduce food losses than increase food production in order to feed a growing world population.  At Intelleflex, we’re focused on working with growers, packers, shippers and retailers of perishable foods (produce, meats, dairy) to better track and monitor the condition of perishables through the cold chain. Through in-transit temperature monitoring from the field to the retailer, we can help reduce waste and costs − and improve operational efficiences.  You can learn more about our approach here.

Kevin Payne

Senior Director of Marketing


PS: Time Magazine also published some perspectives on the FAO report which you can read here.

What’s Up at United Fresh?

I just returned from United Fresh, one of the major fresh produce shows in the US.  The exhibit floor offered a complete range of interesting things from strawberry and orange growers to packaging equipment manufacturers, shipping pallet vendors and software and hardware companies.

Intelleflex Senior Sales Manager Jim Schaffer speaking with attendees at United Fresh

As expected, a key discussion topic at the conference was tracking and tracing of perishable produce to address the Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI) and the Food Safety Modernization Act.  I had several conversations with representatives of major brand companies, both produce growers and produce consumers, who are taking the initiative to improve management of the cold chain and protect their brand’s value.  These companies see the risk of not ensuring that the produce they receive and sell is of high quality and safe for consumption.  Increasingly these companies are becoming aware that in-transit temperature monitoring holds the key to ensuring product quality while also providing the data that they need to rapidly address potential recalls.

A representative of a major global hotel chain came by our booth.  He mentioned that they monitor the temperature of perishables shipped to their hotel from distribution centers but the temperature monitoring device can’t be read when received and is sent back to corporate. He sees none of the information on the device so he has no way of knowing if the goods have been stored properly throughout shipment, leaving him in the dark and at risk of receiving and serving poor quality or potentially dangerous food.  He was excited at the prospect of having the ability to get temperature data on-demand when he receives the goods on his loading dock.

First Hand Experience

We actually experienced this very problem at the show.  For our exhibit display, we wanted to place one of our temperature monitoring tags in with some fruit.  Some of my colleagues went to a major retailer and purchased several clamshells of strawberries.  When we got back from the store and opened up the clamshells, we saw something like this:

Clearly, these berries shouldn't have been sold!

This retailer should have known better!  These berries were already rotting on the store shelf! Remaining shelf life: ZERO.  If nothing else, it proved our point that it’s critical for retailers to monitor temperature in-transit to know the remaining shelf live of the products they’re selling to consumers.  While we wrote off the cost of the strawberries as a business expense, imagine how an actual consumer would feel when they get home and find that the produce they just spent good money on was already garbage? Do you think they’ll buy produce from that retailer again?  How many times has this happened to you?

Expect big changes in the coming year for the cold supply change – the heat is on.

Kevin Payne

Senior Director of Marketing