3 Things to Know About the FDA’s New Food Safety Blueprint for Traceability and Recall Prevention

By Jon Kwalk

3 Things to Know About the FDA’s New Food Safety Blueprint for Traceability and Recall Prevention

  • September 2, 2020

3 Things to Know About the FDA’s New Food Safety Blueprint for Traceability and Recall Prevention

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Although supply chain technology has helped regulate business activities, foodborne illnesses still wreak havoc on millions of consumers every year. In 2011, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) became law to further regulate the way food is grown, harvested, and processed, in effort to shift from a reaction to a prevention model. However, from 2013 to 2018 food recalls increased by 10 percent. The FDA is now looking to technology to better enforce what FSMA called for in 2011.

Dubbed the “New Era of Smarter Food Safety,” the purpose of the blueprint is to enhance traceability, increase outbreak response time, and reduce food contamination. It’s a guide to the future of food safety and a contract between the government, the industry, and public health advocates to bring consumers the highest quality products. 

Here’s what you need to know:

1. The Four Core Elements of the Blueprint

The Food Safety Blueprint has four main pillars it’s based upon:

  • Tech-enabled Traceability
  • Smarter Tools and Approaches for Prevention and Outbreak Response
  • New Business Models and Retail Food Modernization
  • Food Safety Culture

The first and second elements, Tech-enabled Traceability and Smarter Tools and Approaches for Prevention and Outbreak Response, are the vehicles when it comes to modernizing food safety. These core ideas provide the method of change, highlighting the importance of a data-driven approach to quality. 

The third core element, New Business Models and Retail Food Modernization is the gas, powering the vehicle down the road to better food safety. 

COVID-19 has shown us where the industry needs restructuring. In the midst of a pandemic, strict tracking and traceability are crucial, and we’ve certainly hit some potholes along the way. It’s time to rethink how our business models are forcing food safety to take a back seat, and create robust new models that prioritize food safety long into the future. 

The final core element, Food Safety Culture, is the oil needed to maintain the technology we’re implementing. Without a proper culture shift, change does not stick. 

In 2012, the Food Marketing Institute and the Grocery Manufacturers Association found that “the average cost of a recall to a food company is $10M on average, in addition to brand damage and lost sales,” and that number has only increased with the sheer volume of food distributed today. Employees must believe the value and importance of food safety to mitigate these impacts now and in the future. It’s necessary to receive buy-in and understanding from your staff, leaders, and supply chain vendors and partners so that it becomes a part of your company’s identity.

2. Implementation Expectations

The FDA has assigned leaders to track each core element, utilizing their Food Safety Dashboard to trial what tech-enabled traceability really looks like. 

But what does this mean for your company? 

It means it’s time to take action. 

Supply chain traceability is no longer a luxury, but a necessity. Administer and refine your traceability technologies and processes before requirements kick in and you’re forced to reinvent how you run your supply chain to meet governmental standards. 

Utilize the four core elements outlined above to shape how you change your food safety approach. Stay ahead of the curve and jumpstart your traceability efforts today.

3. How Specification Management Can Jumpstart FDA-Approved Traceability Efforts

Luckily, Specification Management has been identified as a supply chain software that can enable end-to-end supply chain visibility and traceability. 

Specification Management enables companies to better track and digitize the supply chain, helping to reduce issues like product recalls and foodborne illnesses. 

As we move into an era that prioritizes knowledge and data-driven decisions, it’s time to take the first step and begin digitizing your supply chain. 

To learn more about how Specright has helped organizations across the food industry, download our ebook on why Specification Data Management is the Future of Food.