How Managing Data Makes Nutrition Label Reqs Easier to Digest
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Published on Thursday, January 10, 2019

New Nutrition Label Requirements for Updated Data

Several reforms in recent years have had a direct impact on consumer packaged goods manufacturers. The latest in the growing list of protections mandated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is a significant reform to the Nutrition Facts Label found on consumer packaged goods. In May of 2016, the FDA declared that the new nutrition label would demonstrate updated scientific data. The decree is designed to help consumers make better purchasing choices by addressing the link between diet and chronic ailments such as heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Companies who are bound by the new regulations (>$10,000,000 in annual revenue) must be compliant by January 1st, 2020. Those smaller than that will have an additional year to comply with the new nutrition label measures.

Serving sizes and calorie composition headline the changes but other changes in vitamins, additives, and percentages are also part of the regulations. These new nutrition label requirements not only apply to domestically produced products but are also applicable to imported packaged food goods as well.

Nutrition label guidelines courtesy of ESHA

Image courtesy of ESHA Research

The Risk of Non-Compliance

Improperly labeled foods expose an organization and its stakeholders to a great deal of risk. Having inaccurate information and improper labels are considered mislabeling and the FDA is particularly tough on companies who sell mislabeled items. Non-compliance with the label reform requirements can mean hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. It is also not unheard of for senior management and executive management to be personally liable and fined individually for particularly egregious infractions. Ensuring compliance should be a key objective for any consumer packaged goods manufacturer.

The Pain of Non-Compliance

Companies must have product, ingredient and label data that is easily accessible as well as traceable and audited to better manage label reform compliance. Too often, organizations rely on spreadsheets, paper files or antiquated systems that don’t provide the visibility and sharing that is needed to manage their information properly. As with most regulations, compliance must be able to be demonstrated and cannot be predictably and accurately performed without documented and formalized processes and with modern systems in place. When inquiries are made about product information – and they will (the FDA is encouraging consumers to contact manufacturers if they have questions about any of the new nutritional label information) – the ability to efficiently and reliably access and deliver the data is essential. Rummaging through files or finding the correct spreadsheet, hoping either is the most current version or even accurate at all, is a hazardous practice.

The wrong systems also require much more time and energy, both to use and to maintain. Trying to find and produce product information stored in spreadsheets, files, and paper is labor intensive and time-consuming. This increased demand on employee time is inefficient, ineffective and expensive. And every time there are changes in regulations, the work required to update the information is significant. Inappropriate and inadequate systems create less productive people, and less productive people cost companies money.

A Data-Driven Solution to Common Product Issues

A formula and recipe management system provides a solution for managing product data on several levels. First, it allows for the centralized storage and processing of specification, ingredient, formula, recipe, packaging and other packaged goods elements. The information contained is easy to maintain, searchable and available to any cross-section of users in the enterprise. Data can be versioned, audited and shared throughout the lifecycle of the item, from ideation through the end of life. Such information can also be maintained with strict and traceable change control. The system alleviates the concerns about where correct data resides or whether it is current or accurate and provides a centralized and flexible single version of “the truth” to all enterprise users.

The formula and recipe management system also enables general product lifecycle management (PLM) functionality to improve reporting and business processes. Specific to the new nutrition label requirements, ingredients, attributes, and label facts can all be stored and managed in a system that produces reports ranging from compliance documents to the package label itself. This capability provides the flexibility to meet both current regulatory requirements and future compliance reporting. Simple to complex workflows around label creation, data management and approvals can also be invaluable tools for providing reliable and repeatable protocols; reliability and repeatability are key elements to maintaining and demonstrating label reform compliance. These workflows can automate and assign an array of tasks and are capable of sending email notifications at timely junctions.

In all, the formula and recipe management system reduces risk, increases efficiency and reliability and makes life easier for employees. It gives organizations predictable control of their information making compliance to rules and regulations more streamlined. Perhaps most importantly, via these key benefits, a formula and recipe management system is a money-saving investment. Let's talk about the ways PSC's Microsoft Dynamics 365 Formula and Recipe Management can help you manage your challenging data management goals and problems.

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Categories: Formula Recipe Management,PLM

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