FoodChain ID, one of the world’s leading food safety, testing, and sustainability organizations, has entered into a software development relationship with Oracle Retail. The collaboration aims to develop and integrate a system for automatic hazard identification and risk assessment into the Oracle Retail Brand Compliance Management Cloud Service (ORBC) platform. FoodChain ID is a member of Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN).
“This integration will transform the way food retailers identify and manage potential hazards in their private-label products,” notes Ron Stakland, senior director of business development for FoodChain ID. “It utilizes data from HorizonScan, the world’s most comprehensive and up-to-date database of emerging food safety and quality incidents.”
The integrated solution will automatically assess the potential impact of each new HorizonScan threat on the retailer’s branded products and provide the information needed to take immediate corrective actions. The goal is to predict and prevent these problems before they can affect consumers.
“Private brand food products are growing in popularity, and retailers are looking for an efficient and reliable approach to identifying potential food safety threats,” said Paul Woodward, senior director retail strategy and solutions management at Oracle Retail. “The HorizonScan database links with product and supplier information in ORBC to provide an integrated solution our clients can take advantage of and depend on.”
One of the primary components of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is that companies must conduct a risk assessment of their ingredients and suppliers to identify and prevent likely hazards. However, the globalization of ingredient sourcing has made it more challenging than ever to accurately identify the latest chemical, biological, and physical risks to each ingredient in the company’s supply chain. New problems emerge daily: HorizonScan reported more than 14,000 incidents of supply chain impurities and contaminants in 2019, with more than 3,000 leading to food safety recalls.
For food retailers, the stakes have never been higher. Under FSMA regulations, failure to implement an effective supply chain risk management program could subject food companies and their officers to significant liability and even criminal charges.
“Our surveys show that 85 percent of companies rely on internet searches, the FDA database or self-policing by suppliers as the main way to detect potential threats in their supply chain,” explains Stakland. “These methods are time-consuming, inefficient, and costly. And worst of all, they’re not very effective.”
Company surveys indicate that the typical food company makes food safety decisions based on as little as 5-10 percent visibility into what is happening globally in the supply chain. Therefore, they are operating nearly blind when making decisions that affect their consumers’ safety, reputation, brand, and shareholder value.
Once a hazard is identified, the process of assessing its potential impact on the hundreds or even thousands of private-label products on a retailer’s shelves is highly complicated and time-consuming.
“All too often, this leads to delays in reacting to new threats, or to not reacting to them at all until it’s too late,” says Stakland. “We believe the solution is automation.”
Working in collaboration with industry experts and some of its large retail clients, FoodChain ID is now testing an automated hazard identification and assessment system that will utilize artificial intelligence (AI). AI will help identify and “score” the severity of each new HorizonScan threat to each retailer’s products, enabling them to immediately focus their resources on dealing with the most severe threats.
Many of the world’s top food retailers manage their private-label products using Oracle Retail’s Brand Compliance platform, so FoodChain ID approached Oracle and showed them what they were working on.
“They immediately recognized how transformative and beneficial this could be for their clients,” says Stakland. “As a result of these discussions, we are very pleased to announce that FoodChain ID has now partnered with Oracle to offer automated hazard assessment as a fully integrated feature within the ORBC platform.”
Automated risk assessment offers advantages to food companies:
1. Scope: thousands of annual food safety threats are identified and analyzed as they emerge.
2. Speed: Food retailers and manufacturers will be able to react to new threats almost immediately.
3. Efficiency: Automation will reduce the need for a QA staff’s human capital and manual efforts, enabling them to focus on managing the most critical issues that threaten their products’ safety and quality.
Stakland notes that this is just the beginning and that, ultimately, other data can be incorporated into the automation system, such as regulatory changes, labeling requirements, commodity pricing, and more.
Oracle Retail and FoodChain ID will jointly hosted a webinar about this new solution on Oct. 27, 2020. The complimentary webinar is open to all food companies. Register for the replay today.