Tag Archives: food safety

Why Supply Chain Transparency is Critical to Your Business and Customer Loyalty

Food companies are facing unprecedented pressure to provide supply chain transparency not only to comply with FSMA and other regulations but to earn customer trust and loyalty.

A recent FoodLogiQ survey of 2,000+ consumers revealed that supply chain transparency by food companies is a critical driver in consumer purchasing decisions and brand loyalty.

But transparency is not achieved overnight, especially for food companies with with complex global supply chains. We are living in a technological atmosphere where information moves fast, and consumers are more aware about the food they eat and the companies they patronize. If a company is faced with a recall or a foodborne illness; the direct costs, lost of sales and brand damage can be staggering.

But there are ways for food companies to not only provide the transparency consumers are demanding but also make it part of their strategic business initiatives to protect their supply chain.

To help support this transparency, FoodLogiQ has partnered with 1WorldSync. Together, we offer a whole-chain traceability solution backed by product information that delivers transparency while tackling food safety and compliance issues.

On September 21st, join industry leaders from FoodLogiQ and 1WorldSync for a compelling webinar on:

  • The challenges and market forces in delivering safe and quality food products to the consumer and driving supply chain transparency
  • How companies are adopting transparency and traceability to drive business goals
  • The technology and skills needed to ensure customer loyalty while protecting your brand

We will present the results of the FoodLogiQ survey, A Food Company’s Guide to What Consumers Care About in the Age of Transparency and answer your questions about what leading food companies are doing to meet their transparent supply chain initiatives. We can help you create business value and decrease risk across your supply chain.

 

 

This Year’s Back to School Checklist Includes Transparency & Traceability

Samantha is allergic to dairy, so please be sure she isn’t served milk! Luke has a nut allergy, so it’s critical that he avoids all foods with peanuts.  Harry is allergic to milk and eggs, so he has to steer clear of foods with either of these ingredients (think cupcakes, cookies and other treats).

Welcome to the lunchroom – the thunderous meeting ground of lunch tables separated by food allergies.  There’s the “No Peanut” table, “No Milk” table, “No Gluten” table and for some schools, even a “No GMO” table.  Have we become a society of extremely picky eaters?  Well, pickiness aside, studies show that food allergies affect up to 2 1/2 million children. Six foods account for 90 percent of all allergic reactions to foods in children: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, and soy. Aside from peanut and tree nut allergy (which are considered life-long), most children will outgrow their food allergies.  But until then, parents and students remain vigilant and cautious in managing those allergies to stay healthy (and alive).

That level of vigilance has translated to greater national awareness and standard school guidelines via the CDC, Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE), USDA and US Department of Education.  So with parents and students requiring much more transparency and traceability, does your organization have a trusted way to provide them with nutritional information in a fast and easily accessible format? Can your organization easily share that info with healthcare professionals, parents, and government agencies?  If not, don’t you get schooled!  Instead, consider the following SIX to do’s:

  1. Establish repeatable global processes and content for product information compliance and transparency
  2. Manage your product information to address Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Health, Safety & Environment policies
  3. Address compliance with specific global transparency initiatives, such as GMA SmartLabel or the EU 1169 Food Regulation.
  4. Capture, store, manage and distribute product data, information and content in accordance with global regulations – e.g. Hazmat, Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSAI), Reach/GHS
  5. Leverage global consulting, content validation and verification services for chemical ingredients and harmful substances.
  6. Establish repeatable processes for material safety data sheets (SDS) and digital as well as physical handling and distribution of compliance documentation.

Fortunately, this is exactly where 1WorldSync can help.  Our proven solutions can help protect and grow your sales to discerning consumers, by offering total product information transparency on all channels.  Even schools now have the ability to provide full nutritional transparency to the right people, at the right time, in the right format. 1WorldSync Showcase for Foodservice is a boundless marketplace that allows you to discover and publish products, and more importantly product information, in a standardized, easily accessible, digital format…and ensuring accurate nutritional information such as ingredients, allergens, and serving size.

Click here to learn more about how 1WorldSync Showcase for Foodservice.

Back to School Blues: The Chore of the Daily Lunch

The sunscreen bottles are nearly empty.  The luggage is stored in the garage (and if you’re lucky, the in-laws safely on their way back home).  We’ve binged watched every show in our queue and eaten the last of the season’s crop of good peaches.  Summer is this close to being in the rear view mirror.

Yes, and right around this time of year, as we vacuum out the beach sand, crushed potato chips and summer-old food wrappers from the inside of our cars, we are officially in ‘back to school’ mode.  For some it’s cause for cheering, (the kids go back to school after all), for others it’s a reminder of the long list of upcoming to-dos and calendar commitments (think soccer practice, school plays and scout meetings).  And aside from the obvious back to school prep work of clothes, books and school supplies, there’s the added chore of the daily lunch routine.

Are you going to stock up on lunch box supplies or will your kids buy lunch? Chances are that you’ll be one of approximate 60% of parents who opt for their school’s lunch program.  After all, parents are busy, kids are picky.  But fortunately, school lunches have become tastier and healthier.  In fact, a good deal healthier.    Most school districts now offer healthier food and beverages in vending machines, school stores, and a la carte cafeteria lines. Fruits, vegetables, water, and hundreds of nutritious snack products now fill these venues instead of the candy, sodas, and other unhealthy items that were commonplace less than a decade ago, mostly because of consumer demand and updated regulations.

Of course, that same demand is driving a level of clarity and transparency into what their kids are eating.  They ask questions and read labels.  So what exactly are parents looking for?

  1. Hidden Trans Fats

Over the next couple of years, food companies must phase out partially hydrogenated oils – a major source of artery-clogging trans fats – under a recent directive from the Food and Drug Administration. Until then, consumers are checking food labels for the word “hydrogenated.” If an ingredient list includes this kind of oil, but the trans fat amount reads zero, watch out.

  1. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)

Over 64 countries now require GMO labeling. Though studies have not determined that GMOs are harmful to eat, many consumers are concerned: limited research into their safety, a rise in “superweeds” that resist the herbicides used on GMOs, and, consequently, more overall pesticide use.  So consumers are voraciously reading labels and looking for ‘USDA-certified organic’ or the “Non-GMO Project Verified” seal on the label.

  1. Wood pulp

That is not a typo.  Wood pulp is often lumped under the heading of ‘added fiber.’   So again, consumers are combing food labels for “cellulose” and “cellulose powder”.

  1. Allergens

Studies show that 16%–18% of children with food allergies have had a reaction from accidentally eating food allergens while at school. More than 170 foods are known to cause IgE mediated food allergies. In the US alone, eight of these foods or food groups account for 90% of serious allergic reactions: milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, wheat, soy, peanuts, and tree nuts.  Fortunately, federal law requires food labels to clearly identify the food allergen source of all foods and ingredients.

School organizations such as North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) are beginning to leverage the increased amount of available product information as well as detailed nutrition labels to mitigate the risk of allergic reactions among students. By utilizing the 1WorldSync Digital Catalog of product information, updated straight from the source, NCDPI is able to comply with USDA federal regulation for meal pattern requirements and easily distribute it this information to parents, students, and even healthcare professionals upon request.

Whether or not students choose to pack or bring their lunch this year, one thing is for certain: their decision will depend on the amount of available product information. It is clear that consumer demand for transparency far exceeds just the Consumer Packaged Goods and Grocery industries, but also extends to any organization that distributes and sells their products to schools.

Click here to learn more about how 1WorldSync solutions can help the Foodservice industry provide product information transparency.

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Product Information

Nothing symbolizes summer in America more than the fourth of July. Barbecues, fireworks and flags waving in the breeze are everywhere you turn. The US of A celebrates her 240th birthday this year and honestly America, you don’t look a day over 220! Seriously, have you had work done?? America the Beautiful is taking health and wellness more seriously than ever before. From what we eat, use to care for our homes and bodies and almost any other consumer product you can think of, access to product information and transparency rules the decision-making process. Let’s discuss how the tradition of Independence Day has transformed over the past generation and what the possibilities are for the future, shall we?!

Barbecues! This tradition is strong and there is no way anyone will ever pull dad away from his grill or pry the tongs out of his hands. What has changed is what gets put on that grill. You may find that nitrate-filled hot dogs and pre-cut hamburger patties are a thing of the past. As people become more concerned with things like preservatives, carcinogens, and animal cruelty, you’re more likely to be served organic chicken sausage, grass-fed beef burgers and of course a vegetarian option like a black bean burger or deviled eggs (cage-free of course!). Beyond just ingredients, food safety and traceability continue to be of high importance and Uncle Sam will only continue to demand more product information from the foodservice industry.

Whether it’s beaches, parks or just your backyard, summer gatherings all (hopefully) have one thing in common – good ol’ Mr. Sun. We all want to have fun in the sun, but without the sting of a sunburn later on. What used to be a simple decision between SPF 15 or 30 has now become an endless list of choices: spray or lotion, safe for children, face or body, waterproof or water resistant, and on and on and ON! I just don’t want to feel sticky and disgusting all day, kthanksbye! But we live and we learn; from premature wrinkles to melanoma, the sun is not to messed with and the public has made it very clear to brand owners that they demand full transparency for sun protection products – and boy did they deliver, yeesh!

No fourth of July celebration would be complete without the iconic firework display. Back in my day, we would set these babies off right in our backyard. How times have changed. This pastime is now, for the most part, completely illegal, but honestly, what were we thinking? “Hey I have a great idea, how about after we drink all day in the sun (sans protection!), we set off some explosives!?” Super smart #eyeroll. Now we all congregate in a wide open space where we can SAFELY view the fireworks from afar without the worry of them backfiring or exploding in our faces. We have also come to know that these loud noises are not so fun for our furry friends, so we keep them out of residential neighborhoods as well. If you can’t make it out to your community fireworks but still want the essence of the holiday, stick to harmless sparklers :)

1WorldSync understands that consumer demands drive business. The more information they have, the more information they want, so companies are only going to have to provide more information in as many ways as possible in the shortest amount of time. 1WorldSync solutions for transparency and compliance, such as the SmartLabel solution,  can help your business to meet these demands and regulations, now and in the future! America seems to be moving in a positive direction to keep ourselves and our families safe and informed, but the only constant in life is change, so in another 20 years we’ll look back on a whole host of new advancements and trends. So, whatever your plans are for July 4th weekend, remember you have the freedom to choose products that meet your standards!

Thanksgiving…Yelp can Help?

When most people think of Thanksgiving, their minds picture a big dinner table at home surrounded by family and friends. However, this old-fashioned vision may be more nostalgia than anything else. In 2013, 33 million Americans relied on restaurants for all or part of their Thanksgiving dinner*. Add that to the 46 million that dined out on Black Friday, it’s clear that traditions are changing.

Stating reasons such as convenience, personal preference and lack of space to host, it is clear that consumers want, and more importantly, need options. Whether they plan on celebrating the entire holiday at their favorite restaurant or order in to avoid washing pots and pans, Americans have the freedom to tailor Thanksgiving to their own lifestyle needs.

As the number of Thanksgiving diners increases, restaurants must also take necessary precautions to protect their guests when a food poisoning outbreak occurs. This includes identifying the origin of the affected food in order to stop serving whatever it is that is causing the illness.

Mobile applications such as Yelp and other restaurant review sites could be used by public health officials as an early way to detect food poisoning outbreaks and prevent future spread**. Just as consumers have the freedom to choose where they would like to celebrate Thanksgiving, with immediate and real time access to dining information,  they also would have the ability to alert others if a certain establishment has had any issues with food poisoning. Other diners then have the freedom to make an informed decision to dine elsewhere – keeping themselves and hopefully many others out of harm’s way.

Once just a convenience tool to post recommendations and make reservations, restaurant review sites are now serving up a more useful purpose.

*http://www.restaurant.org/News-Research/News/79-million-Americans-to-call-on-restaurants-on-Tha

**http://www.ihealthbeat.org/articles/2015/10/26/yelp-could-help-public-health-officials-track-foodborne-illnesses

Halloween is coming soon… What’s in your basket?

It’s that time of year again…costumes are littering the house, pumpkins on the porch, and the kids are asking “what candy are we giving out this year?!”  This used to be a straight-forward question, but now we as  parents are left asking “what can we give out?!”  With thoughts in our heads of: what is nut-free, gluten-free, vegan, healthy and “cool”?  What’s fun but also a healthy alternative to the sugar-filled, fatty options?

Our kids’ school is not a “nut-free” zone, but the school does designate certain tables as nut-free.  At the same time, they are serving cookies at the lunch window, along with certain sugary beverages. So while, we’ve made strides to keep our kids safer and healthier, there are still many areas to work on.

Strides:

  • According to the USDA Smart Snack Final Rule, acceptable food items must have ≤ 35% calories from total fat as served and ≤ 35% of weight from total sugar as served. *
  • At least 39 states currently have some kind of competitive foods standard already in place.**

Slides:

  • Between 1977 and 1996, the number of calories that children consumed from snacks increased by 120 calories per day.***
  • There are still no federal requirements for Childhood Nutrition Labeling
  • Poor nutrition  effects a child’s ability to learn****

Since there are still no federal regulations forcing schools to label the food served, we as consumers and parents must gather as much knowledge as possible to help our children make the best and safest decisions when it comes to what they eat at school. Whether it’s evaluating gluten content, allergens, or ingredients, we want the information at our fingertips. Literally, whether I search online or I am shopping at my local grocery store, I want to be able to quickly and easily evaluate the food items I am putting in my physical or online shopping cart.

Thankfully, organizations like the Grocery Manufacturers Association are introducing new initiatives like SmartLabel, which seeks to standardize nutrition information available to consumers so they can make informed decisions – for our own kids and the ones that will knock at our door at the end of the month.

For Halloween…I’ve decided to give out pencils…really.  Unless a child eats one, I should be safe, right?!

Authors:

  • Kelly Kucera, Sr. Director, Industry & Commercial Marketing
  • Krista Gervon, Americas Marketing Manager

*http://www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/allfoods_summarychart.pdf

**http://www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/allfoods_QandA.pdf

***http://cspinet.org/nutritionpolicy/healthy_school_snacks.html

****http://www.publicschoolreview.com/blog/how-diet-and-nutrition-impact-a-childs-learning-ability