June 30, 2021

Food Traceability Leadership Consortium identifies guidelines for FSMA regulations

The Food Traceability Leadership Consortium (FTLC), formed in March, has announced three key guidelines for its ongoing work to explore solutions to the FDA’s proposed traceability regulations under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

The optimal solution to the traceability challenge in the retail food industry, the Consortium declared, must have minimal cost that doesn’t impact margins or consumer prices, be easy to adopt, use and verify in order to drive universal adoption and meet or exceed FDA proposed regulations to prepare for the future.

The FTLC is focusing on FSMA requirements for last leg of the supply chain, retailer and wholesaler distribution to the stores, which is facing especially challenging traceability issues. ReposiTrak, the industry leader in supply chain compliance and quality management technology solutions with a user network of over 100,000 facilities, is providing its industry knowledge and experience to deliver success.

“The FTLC and ReposiTrak worked collaboratively developing the guidelines to ensure the traceability solution endorsed will get broad buy-in from all trading partners. We have also confirmed the biggest challenges caused by the FSMA regulations, notably capturing shipment level data as product moves through the supply chain and traceability from the distribution center to the store, and are now determining the capabilities needed to address them,” said Randy Fields, chairman and CEO of ReposiTrak, through a press release. “Then we will find a solution that has those capabilities.”

The FTLC gave specifics on each of the three principles for a traceability solution:

  • Must have minimal cost that can’t impact margins or price to consumer. Additional cost comes from new hardware, software, integrations, labor and training. The only way to avoid these costs is to rely on existing processes and documentation. The solution should accept any format of existing electronic documents or records being exchanged in the supply chain, and should not require changes in inventory management practices at the field, processing plant, DC or store.
  • Must be easy to adopt, to use and to verify in order to drive universal adoption. The easiest system to use is one already deployed and allows participation by companies with any level of technical capability. It should identify and allow easy repair of breaks in the chain, and enable error checking.
  • Must meet or exceed FDA proposed regulations to prepare for the future. The optimal solution should not be based on trust, but rather visibility to actual product movements through each node of the supply chain. It must also reduce or eliminate replication of effort and data, and simplify data exchange, retrieval and connectivity to universally accept all forms of data from any participant.

“We’ve made great progress in understanding the needs of the industry in a short time by sharing both pain points and successes,” said Fields. “The FTLC will now work to see if there is a solution that addresses the FDA requirements while not interrupting supply chain operations or negatively impacting consumer costs.”

The FTLC welcomes inquiries from retailers, wholesalers and suppliers interested in joining the group. For more information, contact Derek Hannum, SVP of Customer Success for ReposiTrak at 435-645-2230 or [email protected].

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