The FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is the most sweeping reform of food safety in laws in more than 70 years. Signed into law by President Obama in 2011, it aims to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting focus from responding to reports of food contamination, to preventing it from happening in the first place. The Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food (SFTA), is the last rule of the FSMA series, and it applies directly to the transportation of food.
The SFTA has specific requirements around temperature control and tracking, cleanliness, training, data retention, and temperature certification. (You can find a more in-depth explanation here). Each of these regulations presents a new set of challenges for food shippers. Namely, the mandate on temperature tracking and data retention. And with this heightened focus on data and visibility, it’s made TMS and other supply chain software essential. Here’s how TMS software helps with FSMA rules and regulations:
Automation of administrative work
The new FSMA regulations – by definition, requires more paperwork. Everything must be documented and recorded. The rule states that carriers must have written procedures, agreements and training documents. However, with TMS software, you have the benefit of automating each of these processes. TMS software helps immensely with productivity by greatly reducing the workload caused by processes that were historically manual. It allows you to simplify processes, collect the necessary data and ensure compliance, without having to worry about adding more to your workload.
Tracking & Data
The FSMA rule has put an emphasis on visibility through tracking and data collection. For example, in the new rule, the FDA considers container sanitation and temperature monitoring a preventative food safety measure. Thus, a shipper is required to provide carriers with written instructions on sanitation and temperature controls for the safe transport of their food. In return, the carrier is expected to comply and offer further documentation.
A TMS software serves as a valuable data repository, allowing you to quickly view, manage and analyze your data in real-time. Also important is the historical record of all loads you’ve carried. With a software that makes your life easier, you will find more time to work on other aspects of your business.
Added Shelf Time
Most refrigerated foods – especially meat, cheese, fruits, and veggies – already have a shorter shelf-life than other food products. These highly perishable products need to be in stores as soon as possible to ensure they are stocked and consumed when intended. With TMS software and various optimization integrations, you are able to reduce the amount of time products spend in transit by optimizing routes and avoiding potential setbacks. When your TMS software can drive time out of the supply chain with 100% visibility into every step, you are going to impress your customers and have a chance to grow your revenues and profits.
For a complete overview of Food transport guidance and regulation, visit fda.gov.