The food supply chain has become a complex global system consisting of small to large domestic and foreign manufacturers, processors, packers, distributors and transporters with few common business practices. Consumers now expect year-round supplies of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as more the more exotic, including processed foods. This has increased the risk of a major food safety incident. Compliance with differing government regulations and enforcement policies adds to the complexity. With such a wide-spread value chain with multifaceted reporting requirements, the challenges are great for consumer-facing suppliers to demonstrate regulatory compliance and protect their brands. Laboratory information management systems (LIMS) play a key role in brand protection by facilitating end-to-end traceability of products and all associated laboratory processes.
As Colin Thurston explains on this short video, laboratory informatics can help food labs cope with large amounts of data and facilitate regulatory compliance. And since the big challenge for food producers is protecting their brand, here’s another good article that outlines just how important that is. Read How LIMS Enables the Traceability Required to Protect Food Brands, co-authored by Paula Hollywood, ARC Advisory Group, and Colin Thurston, Thermo Fisher Scientific, and recently published in Food Safety Magazine. A good example of what it takes to protect a brand can be found in a case study featuring Chr Hansen and published in Dairy Times. Chr Hansen, a Denmark-based company that provides dairy cultures and enzymes used in products throughout Europe ranging from cheese to milk and ice cream, relies on the LIMS to manage its quality control operations and adhere to strict quality and safety requirements imposed by the European Union. You find the article in the Safety and Lab Testing section of Dairy Times. You can read the full case study here: Chr. Hansen Standardizes on Thermo Scientific LIMS to Ensure Optimum Quality Control in Starter Culture Production.
Food and Beverage companies that do business around the work are going through enormous change as they react to and prepare for more and more regulatory oversight. Regulations in the US require that imported foods meet the same safety standards as foods prepared in the United States. The same strict regulations apply throughout European countries. Oversight will only increase and the key to managing increasing regulatory requirements is a commitment to enterprise-level data management. For an idea of what this changing landscape entails, take a look at The Four Pillars that Will Transform the Food and Beverage Industry. Knowing what it takes to achieve true enterprise-wide agility is going to be a critical part of defining success in the years to come.
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A good overview of the solutions available to food producers can be found here at Connections for Advancing Food Safety and Testing. And for more information about the comprehensive Thermo Scientific solutions available to food producers you can visit www.thermoscientific.com/foodsafety . For more information about data management in food testing laboratories, visit the Traceability tab on this page or visit www.thermoscientific.com/SM11.
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