Dave Sharpe, global industry director, CPG for Rockwell Automation, notes, “An enterprise-wide approach that embraces information-enabled technologies and automation can help address food safety across operations while increasing productivity. The right technology can help apply a more proactive approach to your food safety program. Beyond compliance, a food safety program can be used to improve product quality, asset utilization, yield, and energy usage. By taking advantage of technologies that improve asset utilization, you can meet demanding production goals and support fast changeovers while also maintaining high product quality.”
Tracking and tracing your supply chain—mandatory in Europe for 10-plus years in all food and feed production—from raw ingredients to finished goods also addresses potential risks that can adversely affect a company’s brands’ final product quality. Having the ability to document, track, and retrieve all informational ingredients that make up the batch aligns with FSMA and is becoming more important to customers and consumers. Quickly accessing the information that was used to make a specific product will save time, effort, and potentially a customer. For most food manufacturers, it is not a question of if they will need to provide this information, but when. Having a solution that provides the least disruption to production and shipping can often provide enough of an ROI to offset the cost incurred by the adaption of this type of solution. It also ensures brand protection and loyalty when consumers in today’s markets are quite fickle.
Ultimately, increasing the use of modular automation and information systems and fully integrating your LIMS and quality data directly address the increasing need for traceability, food safety, and competition. If you fully and proactively integrate data from disparate automation and information systems, it will allow your company to meet the intent of FSMA, which in turn will fuel growth, protect brand integrity, and meet current and new national and international regulations.
What’s the bottom line? Automation and information systems not only help your company meet the regulations of FSMA, but they also enable consumers to feel confident in their purchase of your product. In an age where up-to-the-minute information is at the consumer’s fingertips, your company can proactively market that it has taken the steps necessary to meet the latest food safety government regulations.