By Christian Hutter
One of the most significant recent trends in food safety is how food enterprises — from growers to manufacturers and distributors — will adjust to the stringent compliance requirements of the new U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). This legislation is poised to dramatically improve food safety, but it will also create many business and process challenges for food enterprises. FSMA shifts the focus in the food supply chain to preventing contamination, rather than simply responding to it. The emphasis is on prevention, accountability and responsibility for each step of the chain, all of which requires companies to develop, adhere to and monitor all their processes in preventing food contamination.
Going forward, companies will have to implement stepped-up controls, procedures, monitoring systems and paperwork within their operations. This can be a daunting undertaking for companies operating with multiple steps in their food production processes and running outdated legacy technology or manual systems. Legacy systems tend to be inefficient and prone to errors because of their inability to quickly find and produce the required data for audits, their limited ability to secure data and the lack of standardization capabilities that facilitate integration with other systems. That’s why the focus for many food enterprises in the next few years will be on implementing mobile technologies and new ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems for food safety that will facilitate compliance, enhance data quality and vastly improve food traceability for meeting new and stricter regulations.