Lara Sowinski of Food Logistics magazine wrote a great article on Food Safety Audits that’s well worth the read. In the article, she discusses how the impacts of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), increasing imports, growing recalls and supply chain complexity are pressuring the industry to maintain and improve food safety.
The article quotes Melanie J. Neuman, an advisory manager who specializes in food safety issues for PricewaterhouseCooper’s retail and consumer practice who says that, when it comes to the impact of the FSMA, “companies are facing the most sweeping changes in food regulations in over 70 years.”
Neuman explains that the role of PwC is to advise its clients on best practices to meet and comply with regulations, not only for the FSMA, but for a host of food safety laws and regulations that are governed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“We really help clients integrate food safety into their culture and their daily operations,” says Neuman. This is the first stage, she explains in the interview, but then they drill deeper with their clients. Neuman continues that “The next step of the assessment starts to drill deeper into other categories, such as whether or not the company’s electronic traceability systems are robust enough to comply with the current regulations and their customers’ expectations for producing reports. We look at the company’s ability to track and trace products accurately and quickly, including the ability to identify all ingredients, including raw materials, all production and inventory records, and all distribution on an outbound basis, in order to quickly track product in the event of a food borne illness or other food safety risk.”
Neuman states that tracking and tracing capabilities are high on the list of items that an auditor will examine during an inspection and adds that “record keeping practices go hand in hand with tracking and tracing.”
RFID and intelligent pallets and returnable transport items can help deal with the complexities of the modern supply chain. With all of the hand offs and issues associated with increasingly diverse and extensive supply chains, making it easier to capture, store and share electronic traceability information every step of the way will be critical. To learn how, click here.
Senior Director of Marketing