The International Warehouse Logistics Association Food Security Council seeks to develop best practices for warehouse-based third-party logistics companies to ship, store and manage food. 3PLs often find the space between manufacturing and retailing hazy due to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s regulation and oversight of the national food supply.
“The IWLA Food Security Council goes beyond compliance of the laws, to establish a leading authority on the subject matter through sharing of knowledge and a hybrid of experiences coming together,” says Council Chair Bruce Stoddard, president of Parke Warehouses based in Decatur, Ill.
There is a lot on the Food Security Council’s menu for Sept. 16’s meeting in conjunction with the IWLA Legislative Fly-in held in Washington D.C.
The first course will focus on the latest regulations to hit 3PLs: FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). IWLA Washington Representative Pat O’Connor will lead the FSMA discussion on details of the law including the food registry reporting requirements for adulterated food supplies and IWLA’s exemption filed within the FDA to reduce overly burdensome requirements.
“As more food manufacturers move to third-party warehousing, we become a responsible party of the safety and security of the U.S. food supply,” Stoddard says. “But we need to clarify what we are and are not responsible for—because no clause in any contract can protect you from a recall lawsuit.” Council members will also discuss the need for recall insurance and liability issues inside the food sector from IWLA and Artex Risk Solutions’ representative Mike Lopeman.
The second course will review Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) with emphasis on new, additional requirements for handling of allergenic foods and manufacturing processes. “Oftentimes, I am educating clients on proper reporting, storage and manufacturing practices, and this information is as important to me as it is to them,” Stoddard says.
Also important for clients: Third-party certifications and sanitary practices with food-based warehouses. A special session at the council meeting will go through the various certifying bodies; how they work together and which is best under the Global Food Safety Initiative. You will also find the customer’s perspective on the role of 3PLs in food security and what he/she looks for in a 3PL company.
Stoddard sums up the event as a holistic approach tothe issues food warehouses and logistics companies either have faced or will face—ones that have the power to influence whether a business grows or goes under.
“In an age when the industry is constantly being commoditized with procurement professionals looking to save money, food is one place that they should think twice about hiring cheaply,” Stoddard says. “As a member of the IWLA Food Security Council I am better able to handle food and the risks they bring and I use that as another arrow to differentiate my scope of services and offerings from the competition.”
Register for the 2013 IWLA Legislative Fly-in (Sept. 16-18) and Food Security Council (Sept. 16) or call (847) 813-4699 with questions.