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New Era of Food Technology and How Document Compliance Network Can Help

Whether you have a simple or complex supply chain, documentation management can be overwhelming. At the moment, you’re probably manually tracking and managing your food safety documentation. I’ll even bet that the documents are stored in a binder in someone's office or saved in a folder on your computer.

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you need to find a paper document but don’t know where to look, and when you do find the document it's expired? Manually tracking and storing documents can cause headaches such as this, and means that you have a broken traceability trail for your product.

The FDA is rolling out its New Era of Food Safety program. This program consists of four core elements¹:

Core Element 1: Tech-Enabled Traceability

Core Element 2: Smarter Tools and Approaches for Prevention and Outbreak Response

Core Element 3: New Business Models and Retail Modernization

Core Element 4: Food Safety Culture

What is tech-enabled trackability? For example, Document Compliance Network (DCN) is a tech-enabled traceability tool you can use to help keep track of your supplier documentation. DCN will allow you to get out of tracking expiration dates in electronic spreadsheets and emailing your suppliers to get the required documentation. Our software will keep you audit-ready with all documents needed to show traceability at your fingertips. With that being said, there are four critical points that the FDA made about tech-enabled traceability.

Core Element 1: Tech-Enabled Traceability

  • Continue to advance food traceability fundamentals as FDA transitions from a proposed to final Food Traceability Rule, as required by FSMA Section 204¹.

The FSMA Section 204 created the Food Traceability List (FTL) which designates foods based on a risk-ranking model that needs additional documentation². This model looks at the frequency of outbreaks, severity, and cost of the illness, the risk of contamination, the potential of the pathogen for growth during the shelf life, and how much of the product is consumed. This means that your current documentation requirements could change and increase the amount of documentation needed to provide full traceability for your product. DCN offers an easy way to add and assign new documents to a supplier so that you never miss a required document or deadline.

  • Work with international regulatory partners to create a common global, harmonized food traceability language based on harmonized data elements and standards¹.

The food supply chain is no longer just your local, state, or even country farms. The globalization of the supply chain has led to many different standards for food safety. Even though there are organizations like GFSI, because of economic reasons different countries have more or fewer resources to devote to food safety.

To help strengthen the supply chain there needs to be a global standard so that the food being harvested/produced in one country is held to the same standards that are in another country. Global traceability also comes with the challenge of language and time zone barriers.

DCN will reach out automatically to your suppliers before documents expire so you do not need to keep track of when. On top of that, the simplistic design and intuitive layout make it really easy for suppliers to upload right from their email, regardless of location or language.

  • Hold a "Low- or No-Cost Food Traceability Challenge" to incentivize the development of tech-enabled solutions for food producers of all sizes¹.

Automated documentation for traceability should be accessible to anyone who wants to implement it. DCN is an affordable option compared to others in this space. DCN offers a simple yet effective program that you can search for your documentation in seconds. Whether you are a small company with 10 suppliers or a large one with 500, you should have an option that works for you.

  • Develop and pilot prototype to allow FDA to receive traceability data in digital form that can be used to create outbreak investigation diagrams and improve outbreak response¹.

Document Compliance Network allows for all your documents from suppliers to be up to date and at your fingertips at all times. In case the FDA needs to receive data from your company, it is as easy as searching for the product or vendor that you need the documentation from and then emailing the files to the FDA. You now can find the documentation you need in a matter of seconds instead of hours. Therefore with whatever the prototype ends up looking like, you can rest assured that you will have the documentation necessary to upload to it.

Transitioning to an electronic-based documentation management system will not only help with adjusting to FDA’s new regulation but also with your day-to-day workload. This is the start of moving the industry to have their documents saved and tracked electronically for easier searchability and traceability.

Transitioning now with DCN has never been easier! On average, the software takes two hours to set up, and voila you now have a tech-enabled traceability program. To see a demo of our software sign up here.


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