The grocery industry is different from other food industries in many ways.

One crucial one is that in a typical grocery store, you can find most if not every thing on the FDA’s Food Traceability List. In addition, many grocers manage their own distribution centers, and may have food facilities that they own.

That creates a very complex environment in which to properly trace all products, said Julie McGill, vice president of supply chain strategy insights forTrustwell.

“Retailers are responsible for traceability recordkeeping at several points across the supply chain, and often, these various business units utilize different back-end systems and employ different operational processes.”

Trustwell helps enable all parts of the business, allowing for various data capture options, centralizing the data storage so companies can monitor for compliance and use the company’s investigations tool to stitch together critical tracking events across their business, McGill said.

Trustwell’s traceability platform, FoodLogiQ Traceability, creates a complete and holistic view of supply chains by connecting critical tracking event data at the batch-lot level, utilizing GS1 Standards for traceability, McGill said.

“Our approach is to level the playing field by enabling companies of any size or technical capability.”

One of Trustwell’s key points of differentiation from its competitors, she said, is that its platform offers seven different data loading options for traceability recordkeeping: an online form, a manual spreadsheet upload, .csv upload via FTP, EDI or API, through its mobile app, and RFID data capture.

“We continue to innovate with our customers, and we are piloting with new technology partners, such as Wiliot, to add even more options for data capture.”

For a traceability plan to be successful, McGill said, companies must:

  • Identify critical points across their supply chain where key data elements need to be captured.
  • Understand what information is captured today, how they capture it, and where it’s stored to aid in the identification of any gaps.
  • Enhance existing processes, systems, and in some instances, add new tools to not only ensure data capture, but also to analyze for compliance.

Trustwell’s traceability platform is constantly evolving to keep up with industry changes, McGill said.

With FSMA 204, for instance, there were new attributes and new event types that had to be added. Trustwell made enhancements to its reporting tools and data validations and added an electronic sortable spreadsheet, so companies can quickly export their FSMA 204 compliant data when a withdrawal or investigation occurs.

Those improvements now make it possible for Trustwell’s grocery customers and their suppliers to capture, store and share data required for FSMA 204.

And, crucially, Trustwell’s platform is easy to use.

“No matter what your technical capabilities, you’re able to capture the data and share with key partners,” McGill said. “We also offer a range of professional services, providing FSMA 204 education, readiness assessments, and supply chain mapping to help companies prepare for the rule.