How food manufacturers can ensure high quality across the supply chain

Health, safety and quality control are imperative when it comes to food production. However, despite the many precautions food manufacturers take to ensure the safety and quality of their products, the Australian government estimates there are 5.4 million cases of foodborne disease per year, costing A$1.2 billion annually.

Such alarming numbers have put the focus back on supply chain traceability. Food manufacturers face many challenges in managing perishable raw materials, making deliveries, tracking use-by dates and adhering to strict food safety regulations.

Juggling all these requirements, while trying to control cost and manage growth, can be tricky. Food manufacturers are constantly under pressure to deal with a high volume of raw material, balance numerous transactions and manage distribution difficulties at scale.

However, food manufacturers can ensure high quality across the supply chain by following these three basic strategies:

Manage expiration dates
The perishable nature of raw materials makes things tricky for food manufacturers. Closely monitoring the expiration dates of raw materials and final goods in real time can help manufacturers understand how fast a product needs to be moved or consumed. Doing so will not only help maintain the freshness of the product, but also reduce wastage as items won’t be left to expire on the shelf.

Focus on quality
For a food manufacturer, ensuring high quality across the supply chain is important because the end-product affects not only the health and well-being of consumers, but also of their company. Tracking your ingredients at every step of the production process can help minimise the risk of a product recall, and ensure your products are free from toxins or contaminants.

Avoid overstocking
Overstocking is nothing but money lost in wastage. Whilst food manufacturers often face unpredictable supply and demand, overstocking will only make matters worse for your organisation. Failing to use material within its stipulated time can place your entire production unit at risk of contamination. It’s therefore critical to avoid overstocking and practice lean manufacturing to save money and reduce wastage.

Managing the many complex facets of the supply chain requires a great deal of effort. As a small manufacturer or a start-up, you might have found it easy to use spreadsheets or keep manual records to maintain business information. However, as your business grows, you will need a comprehensive software solution that protects your brand, minimises your losses and enables you to provide high quality products to your consumers.

Discover how software from Sage can help you enhance food and beverage supply chain management to maximise product quality and minimise wastage.

Néstle recall roll-ups over metal fears

Nestlé Australia today announced the immediate recall of certain batches of Uncle Tobys Roll-Ups due to the possible presence of small metal fragments.

The affected products are being recalled because an ingredient supplier has advised Nestlé that equipment failure in their facility has led to the possible presence of small metal fragments in an ingredient supplied to Nestlé used to manufacture the products.

The products being recalled are:

Uncle Tobys Roll-Ups Passionfruit, Rainbow Berry,  Rainbow Fruit Salad and Funprints Strawberry, all of which were produced between 29th June and 14th July.

General Manager Snacks, Susan Catania, said these batches have been sold in major, independent and online retailers since early December.

READ MORE: Barcode trial promises to cut product recalls

“If you have purchased any of these products, please do not consume it, but return it to the place of purchase for a full refund,” Catania said.

Catania confirmed that other batches and products are not affected, and that Nestlé had not received any complaints from consumers regarding metal in Uncle Tobys Roll-Ups.

“As soon as we were made aware of the issue we made contact with authorities to conduct a recall and notified all relevant retailers,” Ms Catania said.

Food products containing foreign matter may cause illness or injury to consumers. Anyone who is concerned about their health should seek medical advice.

Consumers seeking more information can contact Nestlé on 1800 152 126

Having a trusted foundation for global food safety

As the challenges of food safety intensify throughout the world, so does the need for global traceability. Consumers put their trust in the food they eat, and the supply chains that deliver those products. Yet, supply chains are becoming more complex, and with that complexity comes risk.

Digital supply chains
Brands are faced with difficulties like managing product recalls and meeting the demands of consumers wanting to know more about the food they buy.

As digitalisation in the supply chain accelerates, alignment between trading partners is essential to achieve transparency.

There is a renewed sense of urgency for collaboration to create an “ecosystem”, where traceability solutions can easily “talk” to each other and share information between trading partners and consumers.

Senior global food industry influencers, including director at Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) Veronique Discours-Buhot, shared their view on the future of traceability and the need for information sharing, “In order to really demonstrate value, traceability systems must be interoperable, easy to use and a real turnkey solution for collaboration,” said Discours-Buhot.

GS1 traceability – a solid foundation
GS1 has developed a technology-neutral framework that uses common identifiers, such as barcodes, to automatically collect and provide access to information across every step of the food supply chain, delivering visibility of products as they travel from grower to customer.

The information captured by GS1 barcodes, Data Matrix or RFID tags, contains unique global identification numbers.

These form the foundation to enable collaboration between producers, manufacturers, trading partners, consumers and regulators. It also helps link corporate and customer information in a clear and systematic way. In the future they will also enable the automation of laws and regulations.

GS1 Australia provides organisations with the added advantage of national “building blocks” and making traceability implementation possible in full alignment with other stakeholders in their sectors. These building blocks consist of:
• HACCP-certified national recall system
• National product catalogue
• National locations registry
• Consulting and Training network

The GFSI and GS1 serve the same members of the global food supply chain. Both organisations are grounded in a belief in standards and collaboration, working together to shape a better ecosystem of traceability solutions.

GFSI focusses on setting high-level food safety requirements, while GS1 focuses on how organisations can design and implement traceability solutions. Solutions that meet industry best practices and enable end-to-end interoperability and transparency.
Interoperable traceability

Retailers, suppliers, distributors, and consumers are all demanding fast, accurate and complete information that can be seamlessly accessed from anywhere across the supply chain.

Questions from trading partners, consumers and regulatory authorities such as; Where was it grown? Who was involved in the supply chain? Was it produced following food safety practices? require accurate and timely responses. Information to respond to these questions is often spread across different areas and systems in the supply chain. If traceability systems are interoperable, they can easily collaborate and share information, providing greater visibility across the entire supply chain.

Another key factor for interoperable traceability is adaptable solutions.

These solutions should leverage investments based on proven technologies and make use of what is already in place (e.g. logistic labels, barcode scanners) within each company and/or its trading partners.

Big data, artificial intelligence, blockchain and smart everything
Emerging technologies are bringing new opportunities for managing food safety. Yet technology alone will not provide global traceability.

Those developing blockchain solutions for supply chain challenges need to understand that, without common identifiers, the latest technology and devices will not be a cure-all. They run the risk of becoming another isolated system unable to integrate with existing systems.

For traceability to thrive, all stakeholders must come together and cooperate. Open, global standards, such as the GS1 Global Traceability Standard, will enable the use of technologies and automation within food production, processing and delivery processes for end-to-end traceability.

A foundation for interoperable traceability
The GS1 Global Traceability Standard provides a foundation for interoperable traceability systems, making it possible for:
• Different traceability systems to use a common language to talk to each other.
• Organisations to access, combine and interpret data from a variety of sources across the end-to-end supply chain.
• Each trading partner to choose the GS1-enabled traceability solution that best meets its specific needs.

We all win with traceability
When we collaborate, recalls can be faster and more precise, sustainability efforts can be strengthened, and customer trust can be elevated.

All of this is possible with GS1 interoperable and transparent traceability.

Food safety and traceability targeted with MoU

DNV GL and NDS (Nongshim Data System) have signed an MoU to collaborate on further developing digital assurance solutions, targeting food safety and traceability in the food & beverage industry in particular. However, the scope of the collaboration will also be extended to other industries.

Part of the South Korean food & beverage company Nongshim Co., Ltd., NDS brings to the partnership relevant IT solutions including sensors, tags, mobile applications, blockchain and cloud solutions, and more. The Norwegian global assurance provider DNV GL brings its 150 years of experience in audits, verification and assessment services, including data validation and experience in supply chain management and the food & beverage value chain, in particular. DNV GL also brings to the table its digital assurance solutions already on the market as well as the strategic partnership with Vechain. DNV GL recently released My Story™ – giving brands a unique opportunity to share verified product data with consumers – powered by VeChainThor. Italian wine is the first implementation.

The agreement was signed during the annual Global GFSI Food Safety Conference, which gathers over 1100 experts working in the food and beverage value chain.

Says Luca Crisciotti, CEO, DNV GL-Business Assurance: “Bridging the trust gaps is particularly important in the food & beverage sector, where consumers have a strong and justified need for verified product information. We believe an ecosystem approach is the best way to increase levels of transparency and trust, with innovative solutions that bring together various technology elements combined with verification activities. We are delighted to have NDS as a new partner in the provision of digital assurance solutions to meet our customers’ needs.”

Joong-won Kim, CEO, NDS: “The blockchain is considered as the most powerful platform for ensuring food safety. We have developed the blockchain platform specialized in food traceability based on accumulated know-how and qualified technology in the food industry. As the level of Korea livestock traceability system and IT technology are well established, we look forward to expanding this blockchain platform globally partnering with DNV GL.”