last update:6 Aug 2012

Surviving in a new regulatory environment

Incidents such as the recent large peanut recall together with the new US administration will bring more stringent food and feed rules to the forefront. This means that certain ingredient suppliers and customers are demanding greater information gathering and reporting capabilities of the feed manufacturers.

But are your business processes and information systems up to the task? Do you have technology investment as a part of your budget?

Flow track
Sure, the global economy is not the greatest at this time and probably a lot of companies are not thinking of large investments at the moment. However, it is a fact that the animal feed and food industry is going to be dealing with more regulations and demands than ever from both the government and consumers. The bottom line is that you are going to have to track more information about the flow of ingredients and products through your operation and be able to provide timely reports on that flow when asked.

Investing in technology
Can you afford NOT to invest in technology to improve your track and trace capabilities? In this article I am not specifying any level of systems that should be in place as the needs vary for each company, but I want to bring up the topic as something you should be paying attention to. Listed below are a few things for you to consider in determining the appropriate level of technology that your feed operation needs now and in the near future.

- The FDA will probably publish the Animal Feed Safety System (AFSS) regulations this year.
- The AAFCO Draft Model of Good Manufacturing Practices will probably go into law. Basically this will require all feed manufacturers to meet the same GMP’s as those that use Category II Class A medications. The current FDA Good Manufacturing Practice regulations are found here.
- Several ingredient suppliers are requiring feed companies that purchase ingredients direct from the supplier to provide sales information back to the supplier, in electronic formats, in order to continue purchasing those ingredients.

Of course not all manufacturers will require an automated MRP (Material Requirements Planning) and ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system to comply with the government and consumer demands.

My guess is that a majority of feed manufacturers do not have processes or systems in place to meet the demands that will be in place one year from now. I would encourage you to get this topic on your management’s discussion list sooner than later.

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