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October 13, 2020

When a food safety problem arises, batches, lots, and shipments need to be identified within minutes. Manufactures must be able to trace all aspects of products throughout the entire supply chain—with complete visibility at the ingredient level—from farm to table, and everything in-between. This is made even more challenging when complex supply chains traverse across multiple international borders, and when ingredients are sourced from remote locations.

A traceability solution can help address these issues with precision by providing thorough traceability information to help quickly isolate and recall all finished goods and raw materials associated with any suspected product quality or safety issue. The lot recall analysis capabilities of modern enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems allow manufacturers to identify precisely where raw materials and packaging came from, how they were processed, how they were consumed, and where the finished product was shipped.

While the direct impact and cost of a recall can be calculated, the indirect damage to a brand is much harder to quantify. Business partners, both on the supply and demand side, may start to move their business elsewhere because being associated with the issue is a potential risk for their brand. This could force a company into having to focus on survival efforts, instead of proactively developing the business.

Fortunately, not all food safety issues occur on a catastrophic scale involving huge recalls (or litigations). More typically, the producer or processor discovers that quality controls have been accidentally breached, contaminating raw materials or lots of the finished product. Technology can provide the tools to track and trace origins of ingredients quickly and accurately, so containment of adverse quality events can be coordinated and executed quickly across the supply chain. This level of transparency can also help build trust across the supply chain.

To learn more about how food and beverage manufacturers can identify and respond to food safety issues, download the best practices guide: “Improving supply chain transparency in modern food and beverage manufacturing.”

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