America’s favorite marshmallow cereal has come under fire in the first few weeks of April 2022 for allegedly making people ill after the consumption of just one bowl. The FDA is currently in the investigative stages of the recall process. However, this instance points to a broader concern in the food and beverage manufacturing industry: compromisation and recalls can happen to anyone, and few companies have adequate traceability and recall measures in place. Below, we’re discussing the true-to-life case study that Lucky Charms’ recall has provided peer companies in the industry and the benefits that you can expect from a sophisticated traceability system in place.
Why is Lucky Charms recalled in 2022?
The Lucky Charms recall story began when there were 3,000+ filed reports stating that consumers had dealt with nausea, vomiting, dehydration, and other symptoms after eating their morning bowl of cereal. While this was originally thought to be attributed to other factors, it became evident that the common factor in the string of illnesses reported was Lucky Charms Cereal by General Mills.
At the time that this is written, there is an ongoing FDA and internal process evaluation to determine the source of contamination. There is currently no listed recall or source named, and production managers believe that the contamination may have been from a different source or product.
Many are left wondering how a boxed cereal could make people ill, as dried and processed products generally have a lower risk of contamination and foodborne illness. Although this is a common thought, it isn’t entirely true. Manufacturing facilities can fall victim to unsanitary practices, breach in protocol due to illness carrying vermin, among other concerns. There is also a window of vulnerability when cereals or baked pastries are glazed, as sugar is a breeding ground for ruthless bacteria — transferring easily onto the grain-based product.
Where there is food, there is opportunity for bacterial growth. Because of this it is imperative to have a strong traceability system in place.
Benefits of having a food traceability system for food manufacturing businesses
There are many benefits of having a food traceability system in your food manufacturing business. We’ve listed a few of them below.
1. Increased brand perception
Your customers want to purchase what they can tangibly trust. One of the best ways to instill trust in your client base is to vocalize your use and installation of a traceability system. Making this information available to your consumers is a great way to offer them insight and confidence into your internal management and quality control processes.
2. Increased production accountability
Empowering your team members with greater levels of resources for traceability and management can help them to self-manage and operate at the highest level of quality and efficiency. This form of accountability acts as a secondary failsafe for instances of human error that could result in a recall.
3. Increased agility in recall management for food manufacturing businesses
When controlling your potential for damage caused by recall, it’s vital to adopt a traceability plan that can give you the speed and agility that you need to recall affected lot numbers. While manual forms of tracking are considered to be traditional, it is not the most effective way to manage your thousands of units of inventory.
Now that we’ve covered the benefits that you can gain from a quality traceability system for your fleet, we can explore what that can look like — and how Inecta can assist you in creating an end-to-end solution for your organization’s needs.
What is the ideal traceability system for food and beverage manufacturers?
Often, traceability systems are applied fractionally to organizations. This makes them ineffective at best, and risky at worst in the case of a recall. Other times, they may be conducted using manual records, which are inflexible and can be inaccurate depending on how quickly the supply chain is moving. For this reason, digitized traceability is the best option for those in the food and beverage manufacturing space, which is often done by use of QR codes.
Does QR code traceability work?
Yes, QR code traceability is an exceptional system for tracking the products from your food and beverage manufacturing business. Information conducted by individual codes automatically syncs to the related database as a unique identifying value, making it easy to determine where a specific shipment is in the distribution process. If any problems were to arise, the products and affiliated fleet truck could be immediately stopped from further distribution tasks.
How to use QR code traceability in food and beverage manufacturing and distribution businesses
This type of traceability is best used in a centralized cloud system so that it is immediately visible to all members of your organization. Having this type of data readily available can help you to be more agile and reactive under the threat of foodborne illness. Inecta creates end-to-end food ERP software solutions to assist you in traceability and operational tasks. For more information, and to connect with us today, please visit our website. We look forward to speaking with you!