In 2016, I had the chance to take a Preventive Controls Qualified Individual course to familiarize myself with the requirements under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). It was an overwhelming amount of information for this non-scientist to digest, and it gave me new respect for the people who work in quality and regulatory roles at facilities that manufacturer, process, pack, or hold food for consumption in the United States.
To be FSMA compliant, companies must establish and implement a food safety system that includes an analysis of hazards and risk-based preventive controls. Covered facilities must have a written food safety plan that identifies “known or reasonably foreseeable hazards” such as:
Chemical (including radiological) hazards.
Physical hazards specific to each food at the facility.
Hazards that could be intentionally introduced for purposes of economic gain.
Our trainer, Nancy Scharlach of FSMA International, put my classmates and I through a bunch of exercises to illustrate the steps necessary to conduct a hazard analysis. I remember thinking how impossible it seemed to try anticipating all possible threats.
Anyone who has taken a PCQI class knows it can feel like the weight of the world is on their shoulders when trying to identify all the known or reasonably foreseeable danger to food safety. The PCQI curriculum gives students a great overview of the regulations, but it doesn’t make them clairvoyant! Some hazards are obvious, but some are not. And it’s hard to weed out all the bad actors who are constantly devising new ways to commit food fraud or economically-motivated adulteration. How can PCQIs make sure they are capturing all of the known or reasonably foreseeable risks when writing and implementing their food safety plan? Simply put, it takes a whole lot of education, research, and ongoing monitoring.
What if there was a service that could provide notifications when there are food hazards or other potential problems with the ingredients or suppliers you’re sourcing?
Now there is! TraceGains has just launched a new tool known as Smart Alerts to gather business intelligence and monitor incidents in the supply chain.
TraceGains has been helping companies collect actionable supply chain data and documents to simplify supplier verification for more than 11 years. Now with Smart Alerts, TraceGains can make the task of identifying known or reasonably foreseeable hazards a lot easier. Smart Alerts is the best source for industry-related regulatory, safety, incident, and fraud information. Smart Alerts research can be done by commodity, country of origin, type of threat, supplier, date of event, and more. Staying up to date is easy with automatic alerts for key ingredients and formulas, and daily system updates on new and emerging issues. Smart Alerts is integrated with other TraceGains solutions so companies can continuously monitor and manage supply chain risk in one system.
In addition to Smart Alerts, TraceGains has a host of tools built in to simplify the job of managing supply chain risk. TraceGains provides automated risk scoring to help identify the riskiest suppliers and items in the supply chain, an allergen dashboard to help prevent mislabeling and recalls, and the system can read incoming COAs to determine lot-by-lot compliance with specifications and business rules. With TraceGains, employees at food facilities have the tools they need to identify and manage known or reasonably foreseeable hazards in the supply chain.