While no comprehensive traceability standards have been proposed to date, some market segments such as infant formula have begun to lay the foundation. In June 2014, the FDA revised the Infant Formula Act of 1980 to tighten the controls related to internal quality assurance. One provision was the requirement to serialize production to enable traceability.
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Explore This IssueDecember/January 2015
On a macro scale, FSMA references the requirement for enhanced product tracing abilities going forward. The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) has also completed pilots that demonstrate the value and achievability of such systems.
The ever-increasing threat to consumers posed by counterfeiting, coupled with the work of advocacy groups like IFT, is likely to drive more action from the FDA.
In the near future, consumers can expect to self-verify that the food in their hands is safe for consumption. To achieve this goal, manufacturers will be required to make investments beyond traditional internal quality assurance and protect against the external threats outlined in this article. The technology to do this already exists and is being utilized in other industries.
As manufacturers make investments in STT systems, they will find that the ROI goes far beyond defensive positioning and the technology can be used to solve real business problems and even offer a means of competitive differentiation.
McDonogh is vice president, business development for Systech. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
References Furnished Upon Request