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Food Safety Throughout the Cold Chain “From Farm to Fork”

This is the fourth post in a five-part series on food safety throughout the month of September.

Cold chain management solutions provide oversight and increased visibility to help businesses be more efficient and keep food safe. They can also drive a broader impact and incite industry change, helping to address high stakes global issues:

  • $990 billion in annual global food waste1
  • $32 billion annual energy spend in global markets2
  • $18.2 billion annual facility maintenance cost3

Think of the cold chain as the journey food takes as it moves from its original state throughout the process to end up in a consumer’s home. You may have heard the term “from farm to fork,” which applies here as we talk about maintaining freshness and food safety. The goal is to maintain consistent temperature control throughout the process, which means that freshness is monitored and verified from point to point along the chain.

The cold chain is a complex system with multiple parties responsible and many steps from start to finish – and it gets even more complicated with regulations like the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

Retailers are investing more in fresh foods in order to keep up with increasing competition, drive sales growth and protect their brands. Supermarkets are focusing on fresh foods around the perimeter of their stores. Small format retailers, like convenience stores, are introducing new foodservice offerings. Food quality and safety in stores can be maintained through IoT enabled insights with remote monitoring and management services.

Before the food makes it to the retailer, it is shipped through various transportation means. Connected devices used in refrigerated cargo containers and trucks allow real-time product and temperature monitoring during transport of fresh foods.

Currently, a significant amount of data is being collected throughout the cold chain process – in harvest, processing, transportation, distribution and at the retailer – but that data may be sitting separately at each point and is not following the food to the next step; the data is captured but not shared.

This process has traditionally been fragmented, but connected solutions are enabling holistic insights and end-to-end food quality. By moving the data collected at each point into a cloud-based system, it can continue to be captured, stored and analyzed throughout the cold chain process, providing improved insights for more effective operations and informed food quality reporting.

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 Because of complex questions about data ownership and historic management of this data within specific applications, the insights and benefits to be gained from this data remain largely unrealized. However, it’s not difficult to envision a near-term future where retailers and others are able to take advantage of a fully connected cold chain solution. That could include utilizing data to validate food safety and potentially creating competitive advantages by authenticating their fresh foods story.

 Emerson has been a longtime leader in cold chain management, serving the global container shipping and food retail industries. Recently expanding our capabilities with investments in cargo solutions through the acquisitions of Locus Traxx and Paksense, Emerson is now able to better provide consistent information and enhanced safe control of food and other temperature-sensitive goods throughout the entire supply chain.

Look for the next post in this series, which will dive deeper into food safety through transportation solutions.

 For more than 20 years, Emerson Retail Solutions has been helping businesses like yours safeguard food, reduce energy consumption, protect the environment and optimize business results. To learn more about our technology solutions and services for retailers, visit our website.

 Mark Dunson
Group Vice President, Electronics & Solutions
Emerson


 (1) Source: Food and Agricultural Waste Organization of the United Nations: http://www.fao.org/statistics/en/
(2-3) Estimates based on various sources of public data


 To read all posts in our series on food safety for retailers, click on the links below:

  1. Food Safety Remains a Top Priority for Retail Businesses
  2. Prevent Food Safety Issues with Remote Monitoring Services
  3. How Does the Food Safety Modernization Act Impact Food Retailers?
  4. Food Safety Throughout the Cold Chain “From Farm to Fork”

Newark E360 Forum Highlighted Latest Trends, Concerns in the Industry

In August, Emerson Climate Technologies hosted a day-long E360 Forum at the Renaissance Newark Airport Hotel in Newark, N.J. Comprised of more than 100 commercial refrigeration industry stakeholders from several disciplines, it marked the tenth E360 event since the program’s inception in 2014. The event consisted of informative keynote presentations and expert-led breakout discussions on various topics of concern in food retail and foodservice segments.

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Jon Melchi, vice president of government affairs and business development at Heating Air-conditioning and Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI), helped provide context for the event by demonstrating the degree to which the active regulatory climate is shaping the industry. Melchi related that to date there have been 25 major rules targeted at the HVACR industry since the start of the Obama administration. And with 21 legislative days remaining in President Obama’s second term, Melchi expects as many as 11 more rules to be introduced.

Attendees were all ears when Melchi divulged that the financial impacts of the 25 rulings amounted to an estimated $76.6 billion in costs to the industry. He then discussed the latest information on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed changes to section 608 pertaining to refrigerant leak detection, as well as the EPA’s latest change of listing status proposals via its Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program.

The challenges these regulations present to the commercial refrigeration industry — from environmental sustainability and equipment selection to economic viability and energy consumption — was the impetus for Emerson’s E360 program. John Rhodes, president of Emerson Climate Technologies and Don Newlon, vice president and general manager of refrigeration marketing discussed how the program was designed to help the industry balance those four variables and prepare for the nine regulatory compliance requirements in the next five years.

Valerie Briggs, director of marketing and business development at North American Technician Excellence (NATE), discussed the importance of certification programs in helping the industry adapt to the rapid changes taking place. In response, NATE encourages ongoing testing and certification programs designed to guide technicians throughout their career development and gauge their proficiency level. To that end, Briggs said that her organization is in the process of restructuring its contractor certification into four levels, culminating in master certification/efficiency analyst.

Emerson Vice President of Engineering and Electronics Kurt Knapke laid out a road map for navigating the changing refrigerant landscape over the next several years. He outlined global efforts to phase down hydrofluorocarbon (HFCs) refrigerants via a number of recent proposals, including:

  • Anticipated 2016 amendments to the Montreal Protocol
  • European Union’s F-Gas initiative
  • Environmental Canada’s 2016 proposal
  • California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) 2016 proposal for a climate pollutant reduction strategy

One common thread among these proposals is the target of 150 global warming potential (GWP) for multiple refrigeration applications, creating an increased demand for refrigerants with GWPs less than 150. Knapke also presented a timeline for the EPA’s phase-out plans over the next several years, as well as Emerson’s perspective on likely alternatives.

Dean Landeche, vice president of marketing for Retail Solutions at Emerson, detailed the journey of food from farm to fork, and how consumer demand for fresh offerings is dictating precise cold chain monitoring and data collection throughout this process. Landeche demonstrated how this focus on fresh is permeating both large and small retail formats, and the importance of deploying site supervisory controls is critical to meeting this consumer expectation.

To view E360 Forum sessions from Newark or other previous events, please visit our YouTube channel.

How Does the Food Safety Modernization Act Impact Food Retailers?

This is the third post in a five-part series on food safety throughout the month of September.

Food retailers need to understand changing regulations that impact their businesses. Today’s operators are faced with regulatory updates around energy management and refrigerants, as well as what many are calling the most sweeping reform of food safety laws since the last change was enacted in 1938.

fsma

The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which was signed into law in 2011, aims to better protect U.S. public health by strengthening the food safety system. This law enables the FDA to focus on preventing food safety problems, rather than relying primarily on reactive processes after problems occur.

FSMA affects five key areas, including:

  • Mandatory comprehensive, prevention-based controls for food facilities
  • Inspection and compliance to provide oversight and respond effectively when problems emerge
  • Authority to better ensure that imported products meet U.S. standards for food safety
  • Recall authority for all food products
  • Enhanced partnerships and collaboration among all food safety agencies

So, what does FSMA mean for food retail facilities?

As the regulations address the entire supply chain, not all provisions of this legislation apply to food retailers.  But retailers should review the law and its provisions because it places specific responsibilities and accountabilities on supply chain participants for actions and validation of processes.  Thus, grocers will need to work collaboratively with their food suppliers and transportation carriers to ensure that all suppliers are aware of what’s needed for food safety compliance. Some information that may be of highest interest to retailers includes:

  • Procedures to assure that facilities and vehicles used in processing and transport did not allow food to become unsafe or altered.
  • Documented food processing and transport safety programs.
  • Verification that supply chain employees were adequately trained on proper, safe temperature management during processing and transport.
  • Temperature monitoring and reporting that demonstrate food was processed and transported under safe temperature conditions.

As this legislation is new, how it will be enforced is yet to be seen.  Communication, collaboration and training among retailers and their supply chain partners will be essential as developments continue.

With FSMA, there is an increased importance on collecting and utilizing data, especially product temperatures, to ensure that food remains fresh and safe from the farm to the manufacturer to the store, and then into the hands of the consumer. Record keeping is a key component for FDA compliance, so retailers and their supply chain partners will need to ensure accurate, efficient documentation to verify the integrity of their foods.

As food retailers work to comply with industry regulations like FSMA, Emerson can serve as a trusted partner. Our retail facility solutions, including integrated controls and remote monitoring, can assist with preventive management of facility systems to address potential food safety issues before they affect the product in stores. Emerson’s transportation and cargo solutions also can help to provide consistent, safe monitoring and control of temperatures of food and other sensitive goods at critical points throughout the cold chain.

To follow the latest updates on FSMA, retailers may reference the FDA website. For more insights on changing regulations impacting retailers today, watch this E360 webinar recording.

Look for the next post in this series to learn more about integrated solutions to help retailers keep foods fresh – and safe – throughout the cold chain on the journey “from farm to fork.”

 For more than 20 years, Emerson Retail Solutions has been helping businesses like yours safeguard food, reduce energy consumption, protect the environment and optimize business results. To learn more about our technology solutions and services for retailers, visit our website.

Dean Landeche
Vice President of Marketing
Emerson Retail Solutions

 


To read all posts in our series on food safety for retailers, click on the links below:

  1. Food Safety Remains a Top Priority for Retail Businesses
  2. Prevent Food Safety Issues with Remote Monitoring Services
  3. How Does the Food Safety Modernization Act Impact Food Retailers?

Tucson E360 Forum: Together Navigating Through EPA and DOE Regulations

Change is inevitable — especially within today’s HVACR industry. Looming EPA and DOE regulations are coming. Trying to stay up to speed on how these could impact your business can feel daunting — not to mention understanding the multitude of new technologies that have recently come to market. Let’s face it: there’s a lot to decipher in order to make informed business decisions these days.

Be sure to reserve your spot at this E360 Forum, and we’ll help you make sense of what lies ahead.

October 12: Tucson, Arizona, at The Westin La Paloma

register now

 Topics include:

  • Understanding the Restaurant Kitchen of the Future
  • Refrigerant & Energy Regulations Update
  • CO2 Systems: Trends, Benefits and ROI
  • System Upgrades That Impact Sustainable Energy Efficiency and Cost Savings
  • Understanding Leak Detection and Implementing Effective Programs
  • How BMS, EMS, IoT and Insights Are Changing Retailer Operations
  • Making Building Management Mobile
  • How to Meet 2017/2020 Energy Regulations
  • The Case for R-290
  • Enterprise Management and Communicating Kitchen
  • How to Meet Energy and Efficiency Regulations in Commercial AC
  • How to Get the Most out of Your Rooftop AC
  • The Most Efficient Buildings of the Future

We hope you can join us!

Highlights from the 2016 FMI Energy & Store Development Conference

A recent Grocery Headquarters article shares a preview of the 2016 FMI Energy and Store Development Conference. A brief recap of the article is below.

With increasing competition for food retailers, store maintenance and merchandising of products is becoming more important. The 2016 FMI Energy & Store Development Conference features the latest trends in merchandising, refrigeration, store design, energy conservation and other key areas. Emerson Climate Technologies is a sponsor of this year’s event, where we are highlighting new products and services, as well as hosting the store and facility tours for attendees.

At our Emerson Climate Technologies table, we will discuss the wireless sensor system, which allows retailers to quickly and easily monitor individual case and simulated product temperatures. Compatible with the E2 facility management system and Site Supervisor, the wireless sensor system can help retailers reduce operating costs, easily accommodate store layout changes and provide secure facility data transmission.wirelesssensorWith 2015 EPA compliance standards and DOE regulations continuing to impact the commercial refrigeration industry, we will also engage conference attendees in discussion about energy-efficient and environmentally friendly alternatives, including recently approved low-GWP blends and increasing natural refrigerant options. These alternatives are now available in the expanded Copeland Scroll discus and CO2 compressors.

Conference attendees can also learn more about our new three-month trial program of the cellular-connectivity ProAct™ Services, the leading enterprise management service for supermarkets, convenience stores, retail, commercial buildings and foodservice. With ProAct Services, retailers gain around-the-clock visibility and valuable insights into their facility systems without the need for connectivity to a company network, no significant IT support required and no risk of access to critical POS data through the monitoring system.

If you’re attending the FMI Energy and Store Development Conference, please stop by to see us!

You can read the full Grocery Headquarters article online here.

For more than 20 years, Emerson Retail Solutions has been helping businesses like yours safeguard food, reduce energy consumption, protect the environment and optimize business results. To learn more about our technology solutions and services for retailers, visit our website.

Ed McKiernan
President, Retail Solutions
Emerson Climate Technologies

 

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