The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the most sweeping reform of our food safety laws in more than 70 years, was signed into law by President Obama on January 4, 2011. It aims to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus from responding to contamination to preventing it.
However, many food and beverage processors are already becoming overwhelmed as they move towards compliance with the major provisions of the FSMA, including:
- Inspections and Recalls: The FDA now has the sweeping authority to inspect “high-risk” food products annually, and to initiate product recalls of suspected tainted foods. This is a significant transition away from relying on individual producers and distributors to voluntarily issue their own recalls.
- Penalties and Fines: The FDA has also been given the power to levy heavy fines and limit supplies to food companies that do not cooperate with FDA inspections and recalls.
- Food Safety Plans: Food processors are now required to develop comprehensive food safety plans, or Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points plans, that are easily accessible by the government in case of an emergency. These Food Safety Plans need to include analyses of potential biological, chemical, and physical hazards, preventive controls and corrective actions to be taken after an event.
- Food Traceability: Over the next few years, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is required to create a food tracing system to streamline the discovery of contamination sources and accelerate the response times during an outbreak of food poisoning.
Here are five Food Safety software features that every Food processor must have in their ERP system to ensure that the company maintains the highest levels of quality, safety, compliance and profitability.
- Traceability: The increasing demands for regulation and easy access to real-time data have made traceability programs and systems a necessity for any food manufacturing and distribution company. The capability to track (farm to fork) and trace (fork to farm) details per product or per lot is critical. Tracking and tracing is the core of most global regulations. The capability to track a product from farm to fork or using the one up and one down rule combines collecting appropriate information, organizing the information, and retrieving it as required.
- Recall Management: At any given moment, Food companies must be able to quickly and effectively recall products that have been deemed unsafe for the market. Failure to handle a recall successfully (either voluntary or mandatory) can have serious economic and legal consequences. Choosing an industry-specific ERP solution with comprehensive, end-to-end food recall management functionality positions a company to plan their entire recall process in advance, to perform mock recalls proactively or at a customer / regulator’s demands, to constantly measure and improve the recall process and, most importantly, to respond rapidly, accurately, and thoroughly if an actual recall is required.
- Quality Management: Food and beverage companies are also required to detect and react to Food Safety incidents and non-conformances and ensure that appropriate actions are taken to correct and prevent future occurrences. Still, more than half of the FDA warning letters cite Corrective Action / Preventive Action deficiencies. Using a systematic approach to correcting and preventing issues, measuring the outcome and continuously monitoring the system can ensure that a company is compliant, effective and efficient. And, having a well-thought-out Food Safety Management system can result in successful audits, fewer investigations, less product loss, better customer satisfaction, and an increase in overall operational efficiencies.
- Electronic Document Management: Today’s successful food companies are increasingly global. These organizations must sustain global manufacturing and distribution processes while addressing the potential operational risks, as well as overcoming the quality, safety and pricing pressures inherent in an already complex industry. As a result, many food companies seek to implement enterprise-wide food safety and compliance document management solutions that can quickly address customer and regulatory issues consistent with worldwide requirements, while simultaneously being leveraged to automate and enhance business processes. These companies need to manage unstructured data in a controlled manner and according to their food safety compliance programs - and do so efficiently without paper-based and people-intensive processes.
- Inventory Control: Every manufacturer must plan production, purchase and manage materials, execute the manufacturing plan, and deliver products. Food process manufacturers however, require a unique set of capabilities, including management of co-products and by-products, multiple packaging configurations, lot traceability, item weight and specification variances, and product shelf life. Food inventory management must enable companies to track and manage raw materials while taking into account the complexities of multiple inventory characteristics such as weight, container type, and expiration date. In addition, companies must be able to define, manage, and cost multiple outputs, such as co-products and by-products, from a single production process.
And with MAXFood Cloud ERP, employees can have real-time visibility and anytime, anywhere access to the critical business data they need to be successful - without compromising functionality or security.