The United States Senate recently passed a major overhaul to the FDA’s food-safety laws called the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010. As of today, this legislation hasn’t been signed into law and there seems to be brisk debate in Congress on the details.
If you are a manufacturer or distributor of food products in the United States, you will need to be aware of the implications on many levels. One of the major changes will give the FDA the right to order companies to recall tainted food products. The bill has several sections that are dedicated to the topic of product recalls. Here is a link to full text of bill:
Even though the bill is not final, you should consider a plan for how your ERP system can accommodate the possible compliance issues faced. Most specifically, you will need to have a product tracking and recall strategy.
As a food manufacturer or distributor, here are some key functional capabilities that your ERP system should provide:
- Lot Number Tracking for all Inventory
A Lot Number is an identifier provided by a manufacturer that can be used for tracking a group of items. In the food industry, you will want to track lot numbers for raw materials (purchased or created) and track them through the production process to finished goods.
- Lot Number Trace
A recall trace can show which customers purchased an item with a specific lot number. You also can use a recall trace to show where the items with lot numbers are located in your warehouse, including the bin.
- Integrated Barcode Scanning for Lot receiving and shipping
Your warehouse and production staff will need an easy way to capture the lot number during the receiving, production, and shipping process. An barcode scanning solution integrated with your ERP system is highly recommended.
- Recall notification by email for impacted customer orders
If a product recall is issued, you will want to have an easy way to quickly notify customers who have received impacted orders. Email notification is the fastest method. This does require your ERP system to have customer email tracking at the order level.
The deployment of these features is considered “best practice” for companies in the food supply chain outside of the pending Food Safety Modernization Act. There are many benefits that can be gained such as lot shelf life management and lot attributes.
So, keep an eye on the status of this bill and begin to think about your product recall plan.
Also, you can learn best practices for how to prepare your business in case of a product recall by viewing our free on-demand webcast:
by Brady Curtis, The Resource Group –