Process Management

News last update:6 Aug 2012

Track and trace software helps feedmiller

When your company is being investigated by the Food and Drug Administration over contaminated Chinese food products, it's good to have proof you did nothing wrong.

Rene Lavoie had that proof – computerized proof – earlier this year when the FDA thought his New York state cattle-feed company might have shipped a tainted Chinese feed additive to a Canadian mill.

But, using "track-and-trace" software from Feed Management Systems Lavoie proved the FDA wrong and ended a freeze on importing the Canadian feed back into the US.

"Within minutes we could prove the origin was South America through the product's lot number," said Lavoie, general manager of Mercer Milling Co. in Liverpool, N.Y.

Bioterrorism Act
Through the Bioterrorism Act of 2002 Animal feed and human food manufacturers are required to keep records of the source of their ingredients – and produce the records in 24 hours if the FDA demands them. Lately the law has been used not to prevent bioterrorism but to root out inferior Chinese feed products. Track-and-trace software, which got a marketing boost after Sept. 11 and the 2003 mad cow disease outbreak, might benefit further from the more recent Chinese food and feed contamination, said Richard Reynertson, chief executive officer of Feed Management Systems.
"But I don't see the Chinese contamination causing a spike in our sales this year or next year," Reynertson said. "It takes longer than that." "The truth is, we're vulnerable," Reynertson said. "We're a very open society, and the food supply is still very open to tampering. But by monitoring the food supply with good people, processes and technology, we can minimize what might happen."

Cargill boost
Another boost for the company is coming from agribusiness giant Cargill, which under an April agreement is recommending the software company's products to customers of its agricultural consulting services. Cargill said it decided to recommend Feed Management Systems because it also has a strong suite of feed mill business programs tightly integrated with Microsoft's accounting software.
"Track-and-trace capability is very big in the feed mill business," said Bill Mead, Cargill's North American regional director for consulting and animal nutrition. "It has to do with both the government tracking requirements and with companies wanting to protect their reputations."
There may be more track-and-trace software customers as feed mills push to save money by switching from paper record-keeping to computerized management, he said.

The price of the Feed Management Systems' track and trace software depends on the size of the feed mill, but typically is $50,000 to license the software plus $10,000 to $15,000 a year for software maintenance fees, Reynertson said.

The company's software is used in about 200 of the nearly 3,000 US feed mills, he said. The target market is 640 of those feed mills that produce more than 40,000 tons of feed annually. So far, Reynertson said, track-and-trace software isn't a big seller on its own, but instead has helped sell his firm's full suite of software, which the company claims will pay for itself through increased efficiency in about a year.

Related folder:
Weblogs from Rich Reynertson

Related websites:
Feed Management Systems  

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