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It’s about time distributors make food safety a priority – especially given the FDA’s recent cantaloupe recall in response to a listeria outbreak. In an effort to ensure the safety of the U.S. food supply, on January 4, 2011, President Obama signed the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), a policy that requires federal regulators to focus on preventing contamination, rather than just reacting when a foodborne illness outbreak occurs.* The FSMA is designed to ensure distributors’ and manufacturers’ quality control standards meet or exceed the current standards required in today’s pharmaceutical industry.  According to the new act, food distributors and manufacturers must monitor and track inventory recalls, and know exactly what products were shipped to specific clients. Failure to comply with the new standards will result in severe penalties, and may even require a complete recall of shipments.

With the right technology, businesses can avoid these costly penalties and expensive recalls – as noted in a recent Fast Company story showcasing how technology will help prevent the next foodborne illness outbreak. By implementing industry-specific technology, businesses can ensure all of the necessary controls are in place for proper food safety and quality management.  Today, food industry-specific ERP software solutions can guarantee compliance with the new regulations by tracking specific lots from shipment to receipt. In addition, product quality steps can also be introduced to quarantine goods for inspection prior to being made available for distribution. ERP systems can also help businesses in the following areas:

  • Importing cargo tracking
  • Automating the receiving process
  • Supplying lot control and date tracking
  • Providing quality testing of received goods and finished goods
  • Recording quality test results
  • Allowing shelf life date tracking
  • Automating the picking and shipping process
  • Offering lot recall reporting

Food safety should not be taken lightly, and the cantaloupe incidence solidifies how impetrative it is for food businesses to keep detailed records of the entire supply chain process.  VAI recognizes that having the proper software solution in place can help control operational costs while meeting and exceeding customer expectations, and keeping consumers safe. 

VAI is hosting a free webinar on November 2, 2011 at 2:00 pm ET to discuss how business can comply with the FSMA by using an ERP solution and how it will prepare businesses for unpredictable incidences such as the cantaloupe recall.  To register, visit www.vai.net/events.

*According to FDA.gov

 

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