New Features: Enhanced Traceability, Case Labels, & Smart Hazard Suggestions
We’ve launched major new features for the Icicle food safety system that will help our community achieve food safety excellence.
As the global food supply chain becomes increasingly complex, it’s more important than ever for food producers to have a comprehensive and effective traceability program in place to protect their consumers and their business. Traceability allows food companies to trace the flow of ingredients as they are transformed into products, all the way through to shipping.
An effective traceability system not only enables food producers to achieve regulatory compliance, but also minimizes the financial impact of recalls. If a food producer or one of their suppliers comes under a recall, one of the primary objectives is to make the recall as targeted as possible so that safe products are not affected. This means that food companies must be able to track specific lots of incoming ingredients through to specific lots of outgoing products to narrowly pinpoint the specific lots that need to be recalled.
Icicle now supports the complete traceability cycle, including the four essential components: receiving, production runs, shipping, and recalls. Icicle creates receiving records for incoming ingredients, packaging, and materials used during production runs. Records are easily tracked and logged, providing a complete “one step forward, one step back” audit trail as required by regulatory authorities. Icicle seamlessly integrates all of these functions into your food safety program, delivering the most complete and comprehensive food safety solution available on the market today ‐ covering everything from HACCP generation to recall management.
Receiving & Case Label Generation
Case labels are made up of a combination of human and machine-readable information like product name, product code, lot number, best before date, country of origin, PO number, and GTIN-12, GTIN-14, and GS128 barcodes. Many small and medium-sized manufacturers use barcodes generated as part of their traceability system and then use a label printer application or a desktop publisher to create case labels as a separate, time-consuming step.
With Icicle, you can now create your case labels in a single step as a part of your overall food safety program. You can say goodbye to other applications and even use this feature to generate receiving labels, allowing users to easily identify incoming ingredients and record the specific lot numbers of ingredients consumed during the production process – easily feeding back into your Icicle-based traceability program.
And those GTIN-12 and GTIN-14 barcodes? Icicle automatically generates them for you based on GS1 specifications as well, including company prefixes, item references, and indicator digits.
Smart Hazard Suggestions
Smart process and hazard suggestion is a truly revolutionary new feature in food safety, and a significant step towards our vision of automating the development and execution of food safety programs. The suggestion feature is the first in a series of highly advanced Icicle capabilities to be launched.
Icicle now offers two types of suggestions: processes and hazards.
Firstly, when you create a facility in Icicle and identify the facility type (e.g. bakery), specific process steps are suggested for you automatically (e.g. baking, mixing) as you model your production processes.
Secondly, prior to the introduction of hazard suggestions, Icicle users had to know what hazards to identify in advance, which requires a high level of food safety expertise. Many people identified hazards by searching online for hazards related to each ingredient, package, material, and process step. This method is not only unreliable, but finding useful information can be difficult and time-consuming.
Today, when you get to the hazard identification step, Icicle will generate a list of suggestions for biological, chemical, physical, and now to support HARPC compliance, radiological hazards. The system will suggest hazards for ingredients, materials, packaging, and process steps. Users no longer have to sort through hundreds of hazards to try and identify the correct ones, and as the Icicle system continues to grow, the suggestions will become even more comprehensive and complete.
Of course, suggestions presented by Icicle should always be verified by a food safety professional, but this feature will go a long way toward helping you put together your food safety plan by saving time and helping you avoid missing relevant hazards.
While you’re using Icicle’s search feature, you might also notice a bonus upgrade: support for “fuzzy search.” Searches no longer require exact text matches for ingredients and products. For example, if you search “ coconut powder” and the ingredient you’re looking for is labeled “powdered coconut” in the system, you will still find what you need. Even better, it means that if “coconut powder” has the assigned hazard “May contain non-food grade chemicals,” you will still get that suggestion when using “powdered coconut.”
All of these new features help our select community of users achieve not only full compliance, but food safety excellence.