FDA Food Safety report

September 29, 2020

Enjoy your meal – and a new era of smarter food safety!

No, Avery Dennison hasn’t entered the catering industry. Julie Vargas, director, Global RFID Market Development, Food, at Avery Dennison, is simply so delighted about a recent publication by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) that she wants you to share her excitement, and to understand why “smarter food” is a benefit to everybody.

In mid-July, the FDA announced a 10-year blueprint for improving food safety standards in order to flatten the curve of foodborne illness caused by incorrect food safety. In an informative 20-page document titled “New Era of Smarter Food Safety – FDA’s Blueprint for the Future”, the United States federal executive department outlines the approach it will take over the next decade to usher in that new era. 

The Blueprint strongly reflects the results of a public meeting the FDA held last fall to discuss the agency’s approach to the modernization of food safety, with Avery Dennison participating as one of a few technology companies. 

Safer food through better technology
With the blueprint, the FDA is not only making food safety a top priority for the United States. The agency takes an approach to the modernization of food safety where technology – above all better automation and data solutions – and other tools will be leveraged to create a safer and more digital, traceable food system. The FDA thus assumes a global role-model function, which authorities in other parts of the world are likely to follow. 

Many believe we will see more changes in the food system over the next 10 years than we have over the past several decades.

At Avery Dennison, we believe the entire food industry should support the Blueprint’s key objectives. The Blueprint outlines achievable goals to enhance traceability, improve predictive analytics, respond more rapidly to outbreaks, address new business models, reduce sources of contamination, and foster the development of stronger food safety cultures. It basically relies on four pillars: 

  • Tech-Enabled Traceability and Foodborne Outbreak Response – Digital identities should be integrated into products at source, to link the physical product to digital platforms such as blockchain and predictive analytics. This would provide a secure means of traceability and transparency throughout the entire supply chain.
  • Smarter Tools and Approaches for Prevention – Among the many examples of current technology, smart temperature-tracking sensors can alert food purveyors that their refrigeration may be failing, before spoiled food gets to end users. Additionally, as employing dedicated handwashing protocols has been shown to be even more essential, hand scanners are proving to be invaluable.
  • Adapting to New Business Models and Retail Food Safety Modernization – Touchless retail experiences driven by the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to grow in importance. In fact, there is every indication that highly automated stores with self-service ordering, self-checkout, and grab-and-go technology will establish themselves in the retail landscape of the future.
  • Food Safety Culture – A direct digital connection between the consumer and the product can help establish a culture of food safety like never before. We urged the FDA to mandate the use of interoperable standards for globally unique identification and uniform baseline content to be physically and digitally tied to each food supply-chain item, because this addresses the needs of both the industry and customers. 

Avery Dennison has the technologies and solutions to support all four pillars and take food safety to the level defined by the FDA. Our Intelligent Labels solutions integrate digital identities at the first mile to bridge the physical product to digital technologies, such as blockchain and predictive analytics, providing a secure means of traceability and transparency throughout the entire supply chain. 

Now all this may sound a bit abstract and is something we should discuss in more detail and at your convenience, especially if you are in the food business. Until then, I would like you to enjoy your meals in anticipation of smarter, safer food – made possible by Avery Dennison.

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