Jeff Barach, PMMIIn a recent study, PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, reported on the perceptions of industry stakeholders surrounding the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), signed into law in 2011. There is still much confusion and concern surrounding the legislation’s implementation and timelines, but the study outlined key areas where food and beverage manufacturers can concentrate their efforts in preparation to comply with new and upcoming rules.


Investing in Traceability

Track-and-trace capabilities could represent one of the largest costs for food processors if they need new procedures and equipment to address FSMA requirements. As the new regulations brought on by FSMA require robust reporting structures and enhanced mapping of the product supply web, manufacturers can anticipate the need for more sophisticated traceability and the interoperability of data necessary among affected manufacturers. Fortunately there are many technologies that can increase capabilities including barcodes, 2-D matrix barcodes, and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags.


The Right Tools for the Job

Not all of these solutions are necessarily new. The barcode has been around for 40 years, and can still play a pivotal role in the advancement of traceability systems. 2-D matrix barcodes are similar to the classic barcode, yet are capable of carrying much more information. It is this attribute that could springboard the 2-D matrix barcode into even more widespread usage.

Similar to barcodes, RFID tags provide the same type of expanded informational advantages without the need to physically scan labels. Primarily due to current cost, RFID tags are most often utilized on bulk packages such as pallets.


Make Solutions Work Together

In addition to technologies that help track products through the supply chain, solutions that improve interoperable data from procurement computers to production machinery and warehouses are also critical to compliance with future FSMA regulations. Software solutions and protocols that increase a manufacturer’s access and ability to sort to real-time data, and create channels in which these systems work together can vastly improve the efficiency of operations, saving time and money in the event of a contamination issue – or just day-to-day.


A Destination for Innovation

Despite the potential cost of compliance for some food manufacturers, industry players widely acknowledge the benefits of FSMA. The resulting regulations will guide the food and beverage industries toward best practices that prevent, rather than manage, recalls resulting from instances of contamination. Advanced traceability capabilities will enable these companies to better plan for and address these issues.

For food and beverage professionals seeking advanced track-and-trace solutions to ensure compliance with FSMA down the road, there’s PACK EXPO International 2014 (Nov. 2-5; McCormick Place, Chicago). The show will house features as the Food Safety Summit Resource Center, sponsored by the Food Safety Summit (Booth #S-2962) where attendees can have their questions on FSMA answered by subject matter experts.

Visit to register for the show today. Registration is $30 prior to October 3, 2014 and $60 thereafter.


PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, is a trade association representing over 650 packaging and processing supply chain companies that provide a full range of packaging and processing machinery, materials, components and containers. PMMI actively brings buyers and sellers together through programs and events such as The PACK EXPO family of trade shows,, PMT Magazine, PACK EXPO Show Daily, networking events and educational programs.

PMMI organizes the PACK EXPO trade shows: PACK EXPO International, Pharma EXPO, co-located with PACK EXPO International and presented jointly with the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE); PACK EXPO Las Vegas, PACK EXPO East, EXPO PACK México and EXPO PACK Guadalajara, connecting participants in the packaging and processing supply chain with their customers around the world. Coming Up: PACK EXPO International 2014, Nov. 2-5 (McCormick Place, Chicago); Pharma EXPO, co-located with PACK EXPO International 2014; PACK EXPO East, debuting Feb. 16–18, 2015 (Pennsylvania Convention Center, Philadelphia); EXPO PACK Guadalajara 2015, March 10-12, 2015 (Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico).

Learn more about PMMI and the PACK EXPO trade shows at and