In 2011, the United States government passed the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) to help better control and prevent the widespread distribution of unsafe food products.
FSMA allowed the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to have greater visibility over all aspects of food production and aimed to shift the paradigm of the industry towards a preventative mindset, as opposed to the reactive approach that had been standard for many decades.
The regulation also drove home the importance of accurate monitoring and record-keeping for food ingredients during all stages of the supply chain.
Records proving a product was safe during the time of shipment not only protects consumers but also serves to protect companies from blame that may be passed after ingredients are combined into a finished product and distributed to the public – should that product at some point become contaminated.
As a result, standardization of these record-keeping processes became critical, as proof of accurate data may be requested by the FDA at any time.
As we move into the next decade and work through the challenges and lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the FDA has released a refreshed blueprint to drive the industry toward even more modern approaches that match the needs of our present-day supply chain.
This New Era of Smarter Food Safety blueprint builds on work that has been done to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act and prioritizes four key elements:
- Tech-Enabled Traceability
- Smarter Tools and Approaches for Prevention and Outbreak Response
- New Business Models and Retail Modernization
- Food Safety Culture
An asset tracking program offers a number of advantages in each of these four areas. From increased supply chain visibility to reduced transportation and production bottlenecks, a strategically engineered tracking system can play an essential role in improving efficiency and reducing risk.
As an example, CHEP provides a reusable asset tracking solution to all of our customers. Each tote is tagged and scanned as it moves through the supply chain, and scan data is accessible 24/7 through our cloud-based reporting system.
This enables the capture of key data points needed to support quality programs, along with a number of other benefits including comprehensive reporting on container history and shipping documents, as well as improved inventory management through better supply chain visibility.
As with any change to the status quo, new FDA guidance will undoubtedly have a ripple effect, causing companies to experience challenges for which they’ll need to develop solutions. However, with the proper research and sourcing, these changes can provide an excellent opportunity to introduce new technology into the food production supply chain, helping prevent food-borne illnesses and leading to a healthier, safer American food system.