Bioterrorism leads to electronic record keeping

With the new Bioterrorism law, Electronic record keeping isn't required per se, but it's an inevitability to realistically meet such a deadline.

That's according to Rockwell Automation’s Bill McCarthy, speaking at Rockwell Automation's Automation Fair in mid-November in Milwaukee. Rockwell offers tools to assist with such traceability.

The act says: "Such records are to allow for the identification of the immediate previous sources and the immediate subsequent recipients of food [products]..." That means one step back and one step forward in the supply chain. Food and drug manufacturers must turn over records relating to incoming ingredients within four hours of a request from FDA.

At the same conference, Tropicana's Glenn Johnson said preparations for such traceability were already under way at the juice processor.

"The future says we're going to have to know everything about our product from the time it came in the door to the time it goes out, and after, down to tracking a single bottle," Johnson said. Tropicana is installing the systems and infrastructure now to provide such tracking, including a significant role for wireless technology.

One tip from Johnson: When implementing such systems, start small. "If we implement any software system and we make mistakes, it's better to learn and make those mistakes on a pilot system, rather than to try to learn something when it's already on a grand scale.”

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