Compliance is an enterprise-wide issue. Remaining compliant is critical to businesses in a range of industries and should be top of mind for departments ranging from human resources and finance to operations and marketing. Learn more in this article from NexTec Group.
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Gluten-free foods are all the rage, and not just for those who have adverse reactions to the ingredient. For the food and beverage industry, the rise of attention on gluten has an added layer of complexity: compliance with the FDA’s recommendations on labeling. Despite those concerns, there is ample opportunity for F&B companies to seize on the emerging demand for gluten-free foods. Here’s how food & beverage manufacturers can capitalize on the gluten-free market.
Understand the Perspective
One tack for manufacturers to take is to look downstream at what restaurants are doing to respond to the growth in gluten-free. Restaurants are being encouraged to work more closely with their suppliers to ensure gluten-free products. While manufacturers may use several organizations to verify the absence of gluten, a recent post on restaurant.org urges restaurants to go further.
“The safest approach is to ask your supplier to verify an item is gluten-free because many gluten sources aren’t readily identified in the ingredient list. Beware of vague ingredient descriptions like ‘flavorings.’ Request a written statement that verifies ingredients are gluten-free or ask for a certificate of analysis.”
The same post encourages restaurateurs to be more proactive with suppliers by requesting to be notified whenever a product’s ingredients change, at least quarterly reconfirmations, and limiting allowable substitutions. Another article suggests chefs ask for “bake in the bag” products that can reduce cross-contamination from cooking vessels and other food.
A Look at Labels
In 2014, the FDA issued optional guidelines related to gluten on product labels. According to the agency, a gluten-free food cannot include an ingredient that contains a gluten-containing grain such as wheat, rye, barley or spelt; be derived from a gluten-containing grain that hasn’t been processed to remove the gluten; or, if the gluten is removed, contain more than 20 parts per million in the food.
The guidelines also place the phrases “no gluten,” “free of gluten” and “without gluten” under the same scrutiny.
Tips for Manufacturers
For manufacturers looking to enter the gluten-free zone, here are some things to consider:
• Your supply chain. You need to work with your providers to understand how their fields and farms are growing, harvesting and storing food. While grains are the source of gluten, you need to be sure that other products, such as meat, spices and dairy, are not contaminated.
• Your facility. A shared facility creating gluten and gluten-free products has a whole range of complexities. Equipment must be sanitized after each use, and care must be used that gluten traces do not settle back onto work areas. Workers need to be trained to not cross-contaminate via clothing or equipment moves.
• Test early. Ingredients should be tested upon arrival. Surfaces should be tested before work begins on gluten-free products. And finished foods should be tested.
• Managing a Gluten-Free Manufacturing Process. With the NexTec Group, you gain a proven partner in finding solutions for managing gluten-free manufacturing. With the right food manufacturing ERP, you can focus on food safety, accurate labeling, quality control, compliance monitoring, and improved productivity as well as incorporate full traceability.
At NexTec Group, we work with a range of suppliers to find the comprehensive food distribution software solution for your manufacturing facilities. We have extensive experience in the F&B sector and with multiple providers. To learn how we can help with the complexities of your food manufacturing business, download the NexTec Food Brochure.
It’s easy to become frustrated with the growing body of regulations governing food manufacturing, food transportation, food quality, food handling, and related issues. It’s easy to believe that the government is just down on the food industry and looking for ways to make life harder. But the flipside of all those rules and regulations is that the United States enjoys one of the safest food, drug, and water supplies in the entire world. In fact, even the food we feed our pets and livestock is safer and of better quality than some of the food delivered and served to people in some parts of the world.
What’s FSMA compliance?
So, get ready to be thankful, as the brand new FSMA rules are ready to go. Slated for taking effect in April of 2017, the Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food Rule focuses specifically on avoiding risks during the transportation of food, as opposed to strict focus on food quality issues. It is designed to respond to more than 200 comments the FDA received, most from inside the food transportation industry.
FSMA rules for food distribution apply to four main areas:
- The equipment and vehicles that transport food
- The operations of food transportation
- The training of personnel responsible for food transportation
- Record keeping on the food transportation processes
As profit margins become ever slimmer for food manufacturers and food transportation companies, additional requirements like these don’t make things easy. However, the right food distribution software can tremendously help, both in terms of staying compliant with laws and regulations like FSMA and in keeping operations efficient and productive to maximize profits.
How food distribution software helps you stay FSMA compliant
Food distribution software can help your food transportation company remain FSMA compliant, and also:
- Find the most efficient shipping routes. You will be able to give your customers your guarantee that you will be able to fulfill their order precisely and on time for the lowest possible cost.
- Improved lot control means you will be able to manage to stick within even the strictest of FSMA compliance and other regulations. You will be able to perfectly track the path of your stock via RFID and EDI technologies.
- Simpler, easier management of food recalls means you can quickly and easily remove products that have been classified as unsafe by using automated product lot numbers.
- Improved, enhanced inventory management means you can see accurate, current numbers in real time so that you can make the right decisions about your inventory on the spot, even if your inventory is in flux.
- When your customers are running promotions, you will be able to manage and track those using the system’s streamlined trade promotions features.
- Improved quality control means that you can keep track of expiration dates and proactively test products to assure that they are within compliance regulations and determine whether or not they contain potential allergens.
- Increased visibility into operations means that you can get valuable insight into all your business processes via business intelligence tools.
Are you ready to get the food distribution software you need to remain FSMA compliant and improve your profit margins? Download the NexTec Food Brochure to find out more now.
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food and beverage industry
Can your food and beverage company meet demands for higher growth, compliance and tighter margins? Are your systems holding you back?
Labor intensive activities such as reporting, meeting stringent government compliance regulations, and product recalls add layers of complexity to your operations, making it harder to reach your goals. Top it off with pressure from management for real-time data to make critical business decisions, and you’ve got real issues to solve.
What happens if your food and beverage company is trying to do all this work using old legacy software or separate systems that don’t talk to each other? Your people resort to manual methods and that only slows the data flow… AND increases labor costs.
You can solve this problem by connecting your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Customer Resource Management (CRM) and Business Intelligence (BI) software platforms. All your data is combined into one platform — that gives you real-time visibility, streamlines operations, improves traceability and operating efficiencies, and helps you stay in compliance. The end result is cost-savings and increased profitability.
Let NexTec be your partner to help you select the right software and process that connects your business and gives you the insight you need to make the right moves. We work with world-class technology, like Sage X3, and have a nationwide network of consultants with deep expertise in the food and beverage industry. As an award-winning business with a track record of more than two decades, NexTec offers innovative, affordable and personalized software solutions — for food and beverage manufacturing and processing — that will help propel your business to the next level.
Contact us. Fill out the form to learn more.
Learn more about NexTec software solutions for food and beverage
NexTec has been helping food and beverage companies transform their businesses and profit with ERP, CRM and BI solutions for over 20 years.
- Track inventory
- Increase product quality
- Recall products
- Stay in compliance
- Innovate and grow
Food facilities across the U.S. are in a race with time. In less than a month, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) will become the law of the land, and you need to ensure your business is amply prepared. The deadline is set for September 15th. By then you’ll need to comply with all of the new regulations established by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The new regulations focus more on prevention in food safety
One of the key differentiators with the new regulations is the greater emphasis being placed on preventative frameworks. In the past, expectations pertained more toward reacting to harm and having policies in place to mitigate risks. Now, the FDA is expecting food facilities to work on active prevention strategies that will require food industry workers to identify risks within their company and counter those risks before they become a problem.
Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) is of key concern
The new FDA regulations are more focused on enforcing HACCP than before. HACCP forms the very fabric of preventative controls, requiring businesses to develop and implement prerequisite programs, current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP), and the meticulous analysis and documentation of all potential problems or hazards outlined within the company. However, with the new set of regulations, there will be a shift from simply focusing on HACCP to also focusing on Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls (HARPC), so as to place greater emphasis on risk-based prevention than before.
What changes are required for food facilities?
While most food facilities likely already have risk prevention policies in place, there is now a greater requirement for maintaining written records of all preventative control plans. Food facilities must start by identifying every risk factor within their operation. Determine every hazard that exists within food preparation, food processing, and food distribution, and make written documents planning for strategic risk-prevention strategies pertaining to each hazard. Each of these written plans must contain a step-by-step plan of preventative risk mitigation procedures, as well as a description of the monitored controls and the plans for ensuring each control is continually monitored successfully.
How to ensure compliance and employee commitment
Perhaps the greatest challenge in the food industry isn’t developing safety and compliance procedures, but ensuring those procedures are adopted across the organization and all employees are held accountable. With a Corrective and Preventative Action Plan (CAPA) from NexTec, you can simplify compliance, while making it easier for all employees to remain on top of all company-wide procedures.
A CAPA plan will allow you to automate many compliance-related tasks, thus reducing your workload, while ensuring no detail is overlooked. Not only will a CAPA plan improve the efficiency and accuracy of compliance, but also it will help each employee stay on track with all company policies, so compliance can be adopted at every level of your organization. Contact us today to learn more about FSMA, HACCP and NexTec’s CAPA plans.
The word “quality” has lost its impact. It has become so overused as a marketing buzzword that no one is sure what the word really means. Becoming registered to the ISO standards fills the word with new meaning, making it as robust as it was originally intended.
ISO 9001 – Where quality actually means quality
ISO 9001 certification is the hallmark of a Quality Management System. It is the stamp of approval awarded by the exclusive registrars who represent and audit individual business’ Quality Management Systems on behalf of the Organization for International Standardization. ISO registration certificates are proudly hung in places of honor in the lobbies of companies that have earned them. Let us pause just a moment to reiterated that ISO certificates are not awarded – they are earned after rigorous, provable implementation and comprehensive audits by ISO registrars.
Say what you do, then do what you say
The basis for an ISO-approved Quality Management System is to “Say what you do, then do what you say.” This is accomplished by the development, documentation, and implementation of policies, processes, procedures, and work instructions from the top of the company to the bottom and throughout the entire breadth of it.
“The standard requires an organization to meet its own requirements and those of its customers and regulators. It is based on the plan-do-check-act methodology, which helps organizations establish, implement, monitor and measure their processes to deliver results that align with the organization’s requirements and continually improve performance by taking appropriate action.”
How ISO 9001 can improve food safety management in your company
- It improves ALL processes within a company. Since safety plays a major role in nearly every company that produces, stores, transports, or serves human or animal food products, the issue of safety is integral to the control of each and every process.
- The written policies specifically define the regulatory and customer requirements that are to be met and maintained by the company
- The procedures and work instructions drill the policies down to the process level, ensuring that every aspect is fully controlled at all times. They define the sequence and integration of processes so that the desired result – in this case, safety compliance – is consistently achieved. This is the “Say what you do” element.
- The standard creates specific resource management requirements, especially with regard to the qualifications and ongoing training of human resources to ensure employee awareness of and compliance with the policies, procedures, processes, and work instructions. This is the “teaching them what we say, so they do what we say we do” portion.
- The standard requires documentation that the company actually does what it says that it does. The Quality Management System documentation must be able to provide irrefutable evidence that all processes are continually controlled and followed.
- Compliance is verified through the establishment of an internal audit program whereby a team of trained auditors can check documentation, and observe actual performance. In addition, regular audits are conducted by third-party teams, usually from the ISO Registrar that issued the company’s certification.
- Found issues of non-compliance or non-conformance, discovered in an audit, or at any other time, must be cured by documented corrective action that effectively prevents those issues from recurring.
- A driving force of the standard is customer satisfaction. Successful implementation, therefore, ensures that food safety should never be a concern to the customer, including “customers” such as internal departments and transporters.
ISO 9001 – Where Food Safety Management Is of Unquestionable Quality
Food safety cannot be an afterthought. It must be a theme that is central to every process point, every day, all the time. Implementing the ISO 9001 standard ensures your company and your customers that when you talk about quality in food safety management that you are serious about it and the likelihood of ever encountering a problem is virtually nil. Contact us to learn how NexTec solutions can help integrate your ISO 9001 implementation or download the FREE NexTec Food Brochure.
Images courtesy of David Castillo Dominici and Savit Keawtavee at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
The Food Safety Modernization Act (FMSA) spells dramatic change for companies in the food and beverage industry. While the FSMA has been around since 2011, many of the rules have only recently been finalized and published. The first FDA compliance audits begin this year.
For many food and beverage companies, the impact of the FSMA is huge.
A wide range of business processes they’ve been handling with paper logs and unconnected computerized systems need to be updated and transformed. For most of these companies, the best to way to achieve a timely, effective FMSA compliance is to invest in a comprehensive Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system to collect and report their data.
We’ve put together an At-A-Glance guide to help food and beverage manufacturers better understand FMSA and compliance requirements. The guide provides a sense of why companies are turning to ERP solutions like Sage X3 to achieve compliance.
Know the top 3 FSMA provisions
- Preventive Controls. Food and beverage manufacturers are now required to show proof that they have FDA-mandated safety systems and measures (preventive controls) in place — even if no violation has been reported. Proof includes documentation of a wide range of manufacturing and shipping systems, including testing and auditing.
- Foreign supplier verification program. FSMA requires more extensive documentation for all imported products. Under the new Foreign Supplier Verification Program Proposed Rule (FSVP) you’ll need to up the level of quality and safety checks and documentation, including verification that foreign suppliers are themselves conducting a hazard analysis and other safety checks.
- Traceability and Transparency. For many manufacturers, the most challenging element of the FSMA involves new requirements of traceability. For most companies, this means significant investment in tracking and documenting supply chains.
All food and beverage companies are affected by the FSMA, though compliance deadlines are different based on company size. Again, the NexTec guide highlights some of these differences.
Explore the Sage X3 solution
FSMA requires transparency about safety data at every stage of the food production cycle, from farming to distribution. A robust ERP system like Sage X3 helps you collect that data and produce easily readable reports. It handles data for tracking, traceability, and even business intelligence, giving you much greater control over not just safety but your own business processes.
Sage X3 is a product of The Sage Group, which specializes in business management software for small and medium-sized organizations. Sage X3 provides a powerful, highly customizable business software solution — including industry-leading mobile options for companies with a distributed workforce. As a Sage partner, NexTec helps companies, install, configure and customize ERP software.
Contact us and find out how your company can use Sage X3 to ensure FSMA compliance.