How to Protect Food Brands

Manufacturing Insights Blog

By Jon Cowan, Senior Account Manager of Food Solutions, and Tom Nessen, Senior Solution Engineer of Food Solutions, Plex Systems

Companies that produce contaminated food face more aggressive actions than ever before. In a landmark move, the FDA suspended all operations at Sunland, the organic peanut butter processor and distributor whose products had been recalled earlier this fall for salmonella poisoning.

This is the first time the FDA has ever prevented a company from producing or distributing food products without having to go to court first. The agency was exercising the enforcement authority it was granted in the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) enacted last year. This announcement brings home the fact that all food processors must have reliable, comprehensive Food Safety Management Systems (FSMSs).


To protect themselves from the disastrous consequences of food safety issues, food processors must have systems in place to rapidly identify and track every ingredient for each product through all processing steps – from receipt through processing, packaging and shipping, to the exact customer location.

Processors must be able to quickly show documentation of each processing step performed, not only within their own organizations but also at least one step back and one step forward in their supply chains.

Integrated Solution

Leading processors rely on the latest technology to achieve the level of traceability that protects their brands from the shadow of recalls. Many rely on single-source cloud ERP solutions to:

  • Accurately track individual lots, bins or packages as they flow through processing and distribution steps
  • Trace lot information for ingredients and finished goods to isolate problems with precision
  • Quickly and easily pull any traceability documentation needed by suppliers, customers or regulators

Need for a Comprehensive FSMS

Traceability, recall management and a single-source ERP are critical elements of FSMSs. The best of the best in food processing ensure that their systems include these elements, along with HACCP plans and Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) capabilities.

An FSMS with all of these components brings its users peace of mind. Food processors can rest easy knowing that their brands can withstand today’s challenges, along with whatever comes next in recall activities or traceability requirements. (And for more information about how comprehensive FSMSs protect food brands, check out this informational white paper, The Four Elements of an Effective FSMS.”

What other steps does your company take to protect your brand against potential crises?

Below: The "traceability tree" for food processors, as displayed in the Plex Manufacturing Cloud.