Organic Food: Offering Quality Through Information

Meagan Douglas
Tue, Apr 19, 2016
Gerber baby food announced a voluntary recall of organic baby food.
Gerber baby food announced a voluntary recall of organic baby food.

Consumers that want to eat healthy rely on honesty in companies' manufacturing data. As individuals make decisions about their diet, they search through company websites, public reviews and other online sources. The brands with a consistent track record of accurate information will appeal to modern consumers wanting the best quality for themselves and their families.

Many food manufacturers switch to farm fresh ingredients and remove chemical preservatives from their production lines in hopes of attracting health-conscious audiences. The challenge - outside of the usual investments involved in manufacturing shifts - is factories may need to speed up processes, improve visibility and track quality to ensure organic products stay fresh and safe for consumption.

Recent Recalls of Organic Products
It's seems the U.S. can't go a couple of days without news of an organic product recall. CNN recently reported Gerber decided to voluntarily remove two products from market: its pears, carrots and peas and carrots, apples and mangoes organic baby foods. The recall is due to a packaging defect that may make the goods susceptible to spoilage.

This news follows close on the heels of other ongoing recalls, according to the Daily News. RAW Meal Organic Shake & Meal products have been linked to Salmonella infections in 20 states and a pistachio recall expanded to include California.

All of these stories involve products the public usually perceives as healthier than traditional snack foods or manufactured consumable goods. Companies must do everything in their power to deliver the quality consumers expect.

A Balance of Efficiency and Safety
Changing manufacturing processes can be an expensive process. Data collection systems can help companies make informed decisions to eliminate expensive mistakes and adjust initiatives that don't provide the expected returns.

Making the most of resources is a primary concern for multinational food packaging and processing company Tetra Pak, according to Food Quality News. Alexander Bromage, food safety manager for the organization, said his manufacturing plants use a quality diagnostics data collection system to properly schedule workloads for employees and equipment.

"You want that machine to be producing product as much as possible," Bromage said to Food Quality News. "But you don't want to reduce cleaning as that could increase your risk of quality."

Tetra Pak uses connected manufacturing equipment, screening kits and employees on computing devices to generate data for proper production analysis. In the end, the company not only processes quality goods through the leanest production strategies possible, but it also creates aseptic packaging to keep foods safe.

Solutions for Protecting Consumers
A company that prioritizes data collection at the production level will have answers for regulators and consumers if problems do occur. In the Gerber story, the company was able to give customers physical signs that packaging may be faulty and the serial numbers of recalled products. Sharing important data after mistakes shows a brand's commitment is always to consumer safety and satisfaction.

The RFgen white paper "The Food Traceability Survival Guide" explained why every organization manufacturing consumables needs to track products throughout their supply chain. Companies that want to offer quality have to vouch for it as merchandise moves from the factory floor to the consumer's table.

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