In recent years, one of the more hotly contested developments in the medical community has been the increase in peanut allergy incidence rates within the last decade. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of Americans under the age of 18 afflicted with a food or digestive allergy increased 18 percent between 1997 and 2007. As 2007 drew to a close, approximately 3 million U.S. children were reported to have at least one digestive allergy within the previous 12 months. A more recent study conducted by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology between 2009 and 2010 found that 8 percent of nearly 39,000 subjects under the age of 18 had a food allergy.
Regardless if this increase is real or perceived, there is no doubt that food allergies present a considerable danger to the health of many Americans. The CDC stated that symptoms of a food or digestive-related allergy can range from relatively mild, such as abdominal cramps, to severe, including anaphylaxis, which can be deadly if not treated immediately.
Facilitating Recall Efforts with Food Traceability Software
The mere threat of severe allergic reactions makes it imperative that food manufacturers properly label their products for consumer release. However, a 100 percent incident-free rate is impossible to achieve for even the most diligent manufacturers, meaning that eventually a recall will have to be issued to remove potentially harmful products from the supply chain. ConAgra Foods recently had to order a massive recall due to a potential public health concern regarding one of its products. Some samples of the company's line of Kroger's Break 'N Bake chocolate chip cookie dough products were found to erroneously contain peanuts. The recall will remove the potentially contaminated products from numerous grocery chains across 26 states.
When public safety concerns necessitate the issue of a widespread recall, manufacturing firms need to be able to identify and remove contaminated products from store shelves as quickly as possible. This can be difficult to achieve if the organization has not kept diligent records regarding inventory counts and shipment logs. Barcode data collection software can aid these efforts immensely by providing an easy method for manufacturer employees to gather and store information regarding containers and pallets as they move through the supply chain network. With one scan, floor workers can access numerous metrics that may prove valuable if a recall is ordered. The number of units, lot numbers and delivery locations can be cataloged with ease, providing managers with an extensive repository of information to consult when orchestrating a recall.
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