Why A WMS is so Valuable in Helping Food Distributors Comply with the FDA FSMA

Why A WMS is so Valuable in Helping Food Distributors Comply with the FDA FSMA

Epidemics of foodborne illnesses are a major public health concern. Cases of foodborne disease and contamination are red flags of improper food safety protocols or broken safety rules. These issues with food safety and noncompliance with food laws are a burden on the food industry. A food company's involvement in an incidence of foodborne illness could harm the company's reputation. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that every year, contaminated food causes 600 million cases of foodborne diseases and 420 000 deaths globally.

As a result, the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) developed the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) as a stricter approach to food safety requirements and the U.S. government's attempt to change how American industries approach food safety. The law is composed of several sections that address the different concerns of each sector in the food industry. It seeks to safeguard the nation's food system's financial stability and reduce the possible effects of foodborne illnesses.

If you manage food safety or quality assurance for your food business, it’s important to know how your company can comply with the FDA’s regulatory requirements as outlined in the FSMA. This covers the need to maintain traceability records and to reply to FDA requests in a timely manner, providing the necessary information in the approved format, within a 24-hour period.

Products must be tracked and traced by manufacturers and distributors from the time they enter the warehouse until a customer makes a purchase. Furthermore, distribution centers (DCs) are crucial to guaranteeing the secure storage of supplies and materials in the pharmaceutical sector.

Fortunately, improved real-time insight into inventory levels, locations, and movements is possible thanks to technologies like Warehouse Management Systems (WMS). Warehouses and distribution centers (DCs) can handle inventory more quickly, easily, and efficiently by using an efficient WMS that can track batches, expiration dates, and serial numbers.

A WMS can be a valuable tool for food distributors to achieve compliance with the FSMA. Compliance through a WMS can be realized in several ways, including:


Lot and Batch Tracking: With the use of a WMS, it is possible to precisely trace individual product lots and batches throughout the warehouse, giving insight into their place of origin, storage, and previous movements. This makes it easier to identify certain products in the event of a recall.

Data Integration: A WMS can be integrated with other systems, such as transportation management software and supplier portals, to provide a unified record of product movement throughout the whole supply chain.

Reporting and Audit Trail: A WMS helps with audits and shows adherence to FSMA traceability regulations by producing comprehensive information on product movements, storage conditions, and individuals involved.


Temperature Control Management: Temperature sensors in storage facilities can be integrated with a WMS to notify staff when variations in temperature exceed acceptable bounds for food items that are sensitive to temperature.

First-In, First-Out (FIFO) Management: By making sure older products are used first and optimizing stock rotation based on expiration dates, the system reduces the possibility that consumers may purchase outdated goods.

Allergen Control: Within the warehouse, WMS can track and separate products that contain allergens, limiting cross-contamination and guaranteeing adherence to allergen labeling regulations. 


Electronic Documentation: WMS stores all pertinent data electronically, including receiving paperwork, inventory logs, and shipping records, eliminating the need for paper-based record keeping. For FSMA inspections, this makes access and retrieval simple.

Automatic Data Capture: Reducing errors in human data entry and guaranteeing data accuracy for record-keeping is possible by integrating WMS with barcode scanners and other automated data capture methods.

Customizable Reports: To facilitate compliance paperwork, the system enables the generation of customized reports on factors such as temperature logs, product expiration dates, and sanitation history.


Improved Efficiency: By streamlining warehouse operations and cutting down on handling time and product damage, WMS indirectly improves food safety.

Labor Optimization: A WMS increases food safety procedures by optimizing resource allocation and task automation, freeing up employee time for hygienic and quality control work.

Real-time Visibility: Proactively identifying possible problems such as stock depletion or temperature deviations is made possible by real-time inventory visibility, which makes it easier to take prompt remedial action to guarantee food safety.

A WMS can be a useful tool for improving FSMA compliance and running a safer, more productive warehouse. Always keep in mind that comprehensive needs analysis, system integration, and user training for efficient utilization are necessary for a successful solution.

Joe Scioscia

Vice President of Sales