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Associated Grocers Takes Steps to Comply With FSMA Food Traceability Law

Baton Rouge-based wholesale distributor adopts ReposiTrak Traceability Network to ensure safety throughout its supply chain
Marian Zboraj, Progressive Grocer
Supply Chain
The Associated Grocers of Baton Rouge supply chain consists of hundreds of suppliers, a distribution center and more than 240 independent retail locations operating under multiple banners.

Associated Grocers of Baton Rouge, in support of its 240 independent retailers in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas and Texas, has advanced efforts to comply with the FDA’s FSMA 204 food traceability law through automation with the ReposiTrak Traceability Network. The ReposiTrak solution enables the exchange and maintenance of FDA-required data between the co-op’s suppliers, distribution center and retail locations.

“As an organization, it is our mission to provide our retailers with technologies that drive results and simplify the overall responsibilities of running a retail grocery store,” said David Politz, SVP and chief information officer of Associated Grocers, Inc. “Food traceability adds a new layer of complexity to day-to-day operations for many – if not all – of our members, and it was important to us to tackle this problem and find a solution that works for the retailer.”

[Read more: "Food Safety Is Good for Business"]

The FDA’s FSMA 204 food traceability regulation requires manufacturers, processors and those who pack or hold foods on the Food Traceability List to establish and maintain Key Data Element records for specific Critical Tracking Events in a product’s journey through the supply chain. As that product changes hands or changes form, a compounding string of data must be transferred between trading partners to provide full, end-to-end traceability. The Associated Grocers of Baton Rouge supply chain consists of hundreds of suppliers, a distribution center and more than 240 independent retail locations operating under multiple banners.

The ReposiTrak Traceability Network is scalable for the total food supply chain, without the need for new hardware, software or even labeling systems. The company says it is built upon the largest, already-connected network of more than 110,000 individual supplier facilities, making the onboarding process faster and easier for retailers. In addition, ReposiTrak’s team of experts is prepared to have real conversations with food supply chain operators to understand each company’s unique challenges and determine the best approach. There is no cost for retailers and suppliers can connect to an unlimited number of customers and begin sharing data for a low, flat fee.

“The ease of use and extremely low cost are what drew us to the solution,” said Politz. “Through the ReposiTrak Traceability Network, there is a level of comfort in knowing that we’re capturing the data required by the FDA and that it’s being assembled and stored for us according to the FSMA 204 law. Additionally, we, and our suppliers and retailers, have direct access and visibility to that information. Lastly, the ReposiTrak solution enables us to shoulder as much of the burden as possible and, therefore, ease the obligation of our retailers.”

Last month, Associated Grocers of New England and food distributor URM Stores Inc. also joined the ReposiTrak Traceability Network. 

Murray, Utah-based ReposiTrak, formerly Park City Group, provides retailers, suppliers and wholesalers with a robust solution suite to help reduce risk and remain in compliance with regulatory requirements; enhance operational controls; and increase sales with unrivaled brand protection. Consisting of three product families – food traceability, compliance and risk management, and supply chain solutions – ReposiTrak’s integrated, cloud-based applications are supported by a team of experts. 

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