Identifying the true source of food contaminants is key to minimizing the impact of food audits or recalls.
Food and Beverage processor and Distributors are continuously challenged with shrinking margins, retail shelf competition and quality management issues as shelf life and recall management.
Massive food recalls have led to the demand for greater visibility and precision in the global food supply chain. The ability to trace food products and ingredients back to their sources to respond quickly to recalls is critical in minimizing financial losses, illnesses, and lost lives.
In one large-scale situation, more than 36 million pounds of processed turkey products distributed to 26 states were recalled by Cargill, the third largest turkey processor in the United States, for Salmonella Heidelberg bacteria – but it took five months from the first reported case of the illness until the source of the contamination could be identified. This delay, while the problem and source were investigated, led to a greater cost for the recall and illnesses that should have been prevented.
The Need for Traceability
Traceability systems help firms reduce expensive overstocks, coordinate orders and shipments, and manage inventories. Electronic accounting systems for tracking inventory, purchases, production, and sales are an integral part of doing business in the United States.
Today, all food processors must have the capability to rapidly identify and track every ingredient for every one of their products from receipt through processing, packaging, and shipping, to the exact customer location. In the case of an investigation or recall, companies must be able to demonstrate that they have recorded this information at least one step back and one step forward in their supply chain.
Technology to the Rescue
Food processors are turning to technology solutions for traceability and visibility in the global food supply chain. Using software that isolates quality issues, users can easily identify and quarantine suspect material.
Processors need to tightly manage production quality, even into the suppliers’operations. ERP systems with quality management functions enable them to do so easily and effectively. The best-of-the-best software provides data on all processing steps in real time during production and in archives for future reference — making traceability information available quickly and easily. The ideal solution includes traceability features within its inventory system.