The landscape for food industry traceability changes as quickly as the technology industry, and that technology is eroding the barrier between the haves and the have-nots.  Financial bandwidth and size are now secondary to a company mentality that embraces change.  This week let's see how the have-nots can thrive in the new environment and implement recall systems that were previously out of reach to meet and exceed the requirements of the USDA, FDA, and the Food Safety Modernization Act.

A fundamental of Food Safety for processors is the concept of one up and one down traceability. This simply means recording where the food came from and where has it gone.  Distributors and processors are both liable to maintain this information, though processors have the added complication of carrying this information through production.

Today there are several ways that food businesses can implement these types of systems:

  1. Excel Spreadsheets (Manual)
  2. Purchase generic software and make it work themselves
  3. Invest 100’s of thousands of dollars to implement a system designed for food processing
  4. Move to the Cloud for the lowest Total Cost of Ownership

Small companies, defined as under $25,0000,000, were previously confined to the first two options.

A small honey processor I spoke with last week achieved SQF2 certification through supreme manual effort using Excel.  The SQF (Safe Quality Foods) certification allowed them to penetrate retail markets backed by the quality practices assurance of the SQF standards organization.  As they moved to a larger selling environment the manual effort required to keep up with Excel based tracking was becoming overwhelming, and they did not have the time to develop in house expertise to build a custom solution from generic components.

Traceability has become critical to growing their organization, and in the past they would have hit a barrier to entry into the wider marketplace, a large technology investment.

Thankfully food companies like Common Market have worked with technology companies like Food Connex to develop option 4, a Cloud based solution that provides one up, one down traceability for food distributors and processors.  Common Market can produce trace labels that denote purchasing information and farm sources, this represents valuable trace information that is recorded automatically when scanned. Tracebility by Farm and lot #.

Cloud technologies allow smaller customers to leverage the advantages of current technology, just like the big boys.

As a side note when we discussed getting involved in plant based foods looks like the giant Sysco has started a new group called Simply Sysco. Their intent is to market plant based foods and Proteins to address the changing trends of the eating public.




Issue 646 - Checking those Resolutions.

Last year we were early to declare our New Years Resolutions 2018. A lot has changed over in 2018, but I believe it's not quite too late to make sure we have addressed some of those resolutions.

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