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With the continued threat and reality of food related illnesses and product recalls, food safety remains a high priority for consumers and produce processors. Today’s health conscious consumer not only prefers higher quality ingredients, but also an end product that meets their dietary preferences.

A recent Consumer Report found that when they tested, “45 popular fruit juices sold across the country—including apple, grape, pear, and fruit blends—[Consumer Report] found elevated levels of those elements, commonly known as heavy metals, in almost half of them, including juices marketed for children.” What’s more, is a report from 2011 yielded similar results, though the levels of metals found were much higher. While the effort is being made to source higher quality ingredients, food and beverage contamination can be absorbed not only directly from the end product, but through air, water and soil. So, it is more important than ever that produce processors and distributors leverage the latest in technology to better track, trace and test while having visibility throughout their supply chain. Now don’t get me wrong, this issue is very complex and I am not a scientist, but what if produce processors and distributors had access to technology that would enable them implement traceability and quality control standards directly into their operations. A process that is often done through use of spreadsheets can now be part of the operation, where technology automatically captures, analyzes and reports on specific data inputs from a variety of tags, sensors and labels. As a result, traceability and quality control not only provide visibility into individual components of the end product but allow businesses to preserve the integrity of their brand while providing high quality products to consumers.

Here are leading business benefits of implementing a comprehensive track and trace system:

  • Enhance brand integrity and image by giving consumers confidence in quality of your products and authenticity on the ingredients
  • Gain real-time visibility into the root cause of product issue with the ability to trace forward and backward
  • Implement a farm to table approach and get access to the right information at the right time to remove a product from the market during a recall

Given the breadth of regulatory requirements in the produce industry, technology plays a critical role in maintaining compliance with food safety guidelines. Traceability and quality control management allow appropriate testing regimes to be managed across all inventory and production related activities—including raw materials, packaging, intermediates and the finished product. The human capital management of the system should also support establishing employee skill and certification requirements and training plans.

ColumbusFood ERP and Quality Control provides transparency, so you can direct and manage quality testing and reporting. The solution provides end-to-end insight into the quality dynamics in your business with complete forward and backward, and auditable tracking of lots through your processes. Across all processes, products, and materials, Food Quality Control lets you design tests and determine the best response to their outcomes.

When your products are consumed by people, quality is as much of a business-critical concern as the basics of running a productive and profitable operation. The food industry experts at Columbus know what it’s like to run a high-risk business that has to meet ambitious quality and performance goals. We help you create and make the best possible products, distribute them efficiently, and meet regulatory and corporate quality standards with minimal cost and complexity.

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Since the romaine lettuce contamination just before Thanksgiving, the produce industry has been abuzz with discussions of the increasing incidence of supply chain contamination in recent years. In a study released by the United Public Interest Research Group, it was reported that food related recalls are up nearly 10% between 2013 and 2018.  While the article does allow that improvements in the science and increases in testing since implementation of the FSMA as a factor, it also noted that there were significant gaps in the food safety system.  They list four areas where improvements could be made to increase the effectiveness of the food safety system. 
A dairy producers quality assurance and quality control activities are impacted by a number of governmental regulations and their markets desire for a good quality product. Of course, there is a cost to these activities, in dollars and time. The goal of skip-lot sampling is to limit the number of lots from a supplier which are required to submit to sampling, or quality control. The pace which “limiting” occurs is setup in the dairy producer’s skip-lot formula.
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