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Track/Trace Solutions for the Food Processing Industry

The news of late makes it clear; there is need for food processing traceability and a growing demand by the public and government to make this happen.

Attending a recent RFID industry symposium the conversation focused on making the US food supply chain the best and most dependable in the world. I can report firsthand the importance of this, as like you, we have all come in contact at one time or another, with processed and prepared food that seemed suspect. Visit the USDA.gov website and see first hand by searching “food recalls”, it’s astounding the number of recalls and traceability needs, http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Fsis_Recalls/index.asp

The decision making of traceability solutions falls onto the individual corporation and the stakeholders they serve. Consumer markets and the US government demand accountability in the wholesomeness of product and there’s growing concern by state government for regulations on producers to validate their raw product processes using information technology, track and trace accountability.

Years and years of paper trail detail produces an overwhelming amount of data for one producer to keep track of, yet alone the man-hours associated with keeping the data captured organized and useable. When coupled with the number of manufacturers who “touch” a single ingredient used to manufacturer the final product, the task of gathering this information is daunting to say the least.

Each participant in the chain of manufacturing must come to the conclusion to invest in the automated process of trace/track accountability, as they are stakeholders in the overall process of finished product and will be accountable for their part in the products wholesomeness for human consumption. From seedling to processing, from farm to fork, track/trace systems provide visibility to any products processing and handling and supports the company’s validation of their procedures and protocols.

Your involvement as an AIDC supplier and resource expert brings knowledge and a value proposition to the food industry. It is an exciting time for our community and our involvement can provide valuable feedback to shape the direction and use of advanced technologies in food traceability.

 

Some aspects of a track/trace solution would include:

  • Tracking import and export elements of raw materials
  • Multi-ingredient food and additives tracking
  • Integration with food safety and other processing systems
  • Effectively track and trace products both internally and externally
  • Document product history from manufacturing to the customer
  • Supportive systems would include barcode and/or RFID tagging solutions
  • Provide a supported chain of custody for finished goods

 

Product efficiencies of track/trace solutions would include:

  • An accurate accounting of raw material processes
  • The accurate traceability of processed products
  • Supports the drive in greater manufacturing controls for JIT (just in time) supply chain management
  • Lower costs of manufacturing by providing real time needs assessment data
  • Provides immediate and accurate raw material assessments during the manufacturing process

 

Product logistic and warehousing support values would:

  • Support the labeling of processed products to industry standards
  • Electronically support the industry’s current standards, improving the overall processes and provide allowance for advancement in future process improvement
  • Support a first pick and process inventory management against lot numbers or user defined protocols
  • Provide a significant reduction in paper trace/track processes
  • Assure the highest possible accounting of material or asset documentation
  • Allow for an implementation of location or date driven materials management offering asset optimization
  • Accurately track and trace the path lines of products that were recalled or were issued an isolation requirement
  • Drive quality assurance processes allowing the applicable FIFO and item rotation rules
  • Eliminate inaccurate manual track/trace processes in manufacturing
  • Dramatically reduce material handlers time on task to pull, move or account for product dispositions
  • Seamless integration of data elements to host legacy databases

 

Value propositions applied to federal, state or local regulatory compliance:

  • Supports documentation on manufacturing and processes used for any track/trace protocol established by regulatory agencies
  • Fulfillment of traceability requirements existing for on and off-farm programs
  • Supports integration guidelines as set by the industry or government regulatory standards
  • Supports a reporting of multi-ingredient traceability

Incorporating the use of track/trace solutions will address the concerns presented during an assessment of product viability and wholesomeness and provide confidence in the data and processes in place by the company.