Helping Companies Navigate FDA’s New Traceability Rule
By Diane Wetherington
Founder and Executive Chairman
September 24, 2020
As anticipated, the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced its proposed Rule for Food Traceability, which outlined additional traceability recordkeeping requirements for many fruit and vegetable commodities. According to the FDA: “This proposed rule would create a first-of-its-kind standardized approach to traceability recordkeeping, paving the way for industry to adopt and leverage more digital, tech-enabled traceability systems both in the near term and the future.”
There is a lot for companies to digest with FDA’s announcement including assessing their current level of compliance with FDA’s proposed rule as well as the need to improve and advance their current traceability systems. Both a clear understanding of the proposed rule as well as traceability solutions are where iFoodDS scientists and technical experts can help.
Among the rulemaking provisions companies should know, the FDA’s proposal would continue to allow paper traceability records, however, companies will need to submit an electronic sortable spreadsheet within 24 hours of a request from the agency. But FDA added: “More generally, the FDA encourages all food businesses to maintain their traceability records electronically whenever possible, to expedite the identification of traceability information when needed to address threats to public health.”
Moving companies from paper-based recordkeeping systems to digitized data in an easy and cost effective manner is the goal of iFoodDS products and services. “We understand that implementation of new traceability systems can seem like a big undertaking, but it doesn’t need to be,” explains Diane Wetherington, iFoodDS Executive Chair of the Board. “Our team guides companies through all phases of implementation and use of cloud-based, software solutions, including iFoodDS HarvestMark products, which provide item-level traceability throughout the supply chain.”
What do we mean by digitized versus electronic data? Digitized data is about how you enter, store and access records. If you can access data in real time once you enter it into software, you can then sort the data and view multiple records and details immediately. We would call this digitized data.
No matter which tech-enabled traceability solution you choose, the professional expertise of iFoodDS scientists and experts is available to your company through its regular blog postings as well as new webinars. Upcoming webinars include United Fresh Produce Association’s (UFPA) October 27 webinar, “Traceability: Part 1,” where iFoodDS’ Vice President Minos Athanassiadis will be the featured panelist. iFoodDS’ Wetherington will also participate in UFPA’s second traceability webinar on November 5, which will focus on the FDA’s proposed traceability rule. (Click here to register for the webinars.)
“Navigating new food safety rules and requirements can seem challenging, but it also presents an opportunity for companies to advance continuous improvement,” Wetherington says. “We believe adopting data-driven technologies can make adapting to new rules and requirements much easier and, more importantly, help companies achieve a higher standard of food safety.”
For a personal consultation on your company’s cloud-based software solutions and traceability needs, please contact sales@iFoodDS.com or call 206.219.3703 to learn more about iFoodDS’ food supply chain safety and quality solutions.