For many, the impetus for change may be FSMA, but the outcomes—with a LIMS in place—are much broader and can impact quality, efficiency, and long-term profitability.
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While easing compliance burden and identifying greater efficiencies are benefits that resonate loudly with food and beverage manufacturers, the hard costs of recalls are even more resounding. Even a small recall is expensive, and the longer it goes on the more costly it becomes. The investment made in better information management today pales in comparison to the costs of handling a recall with an inefficient management system.
A data management system, especially one as comprehensive as a LIMS, could be the unsung hero of FSMA compliance.
But FSMA continues to evolve. Consider a recent amendment that requires changes to the Reportable Food Registry, an FDA portal that’s been in place since 2009 to gather data about threats to the food supply. Designed as a first line of protection for consumers, FDA now envisions a more far-reaching purview. Notice requirements under the amendments would put an onus on manufacturers to prepare plans in advance that demonstrate rapid response procedures. So clearly we should expect more oversight in future, not less.
Rapid response, remaining compliant, and discovering avenues for greater efficiency are areas where mastery of data management and a system to do so is required. And when it comes to data and managing lab testing, analysis, and reporting—especially in support of something as far-reaching as FSMA—LIMS is a platform suited to the task.
Thurston is the project director for Thermo Fisher Scientific. Reach him at +44-161-942-3000.