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New FDA rules designed to facilitate quickly identifying and recalling contaminated foods will require a networked supply chain approach for the food industry. (That means deploying a Digital Supply Network – Yes, you’ve heard me talk about that before, several times!)

Section 204(d) of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), commonly referred to as FSMA 204, requires those who manufacture, process, pack or hold foods on the Food Traceability List to keep records and rapidly information about contaminated food sources (critical tracking events) to the FDA. Everyone covered by FSMA 204 must comply with the recordkeeping requirements by Jan. 20, 2026.

Critical tracking events can happen anywhere within your supply chain – whether growing, receiving, transforming, creating or shipping food. Key data about critical tracking events must be provided “to the FDA within 24 hours or within some reasonable time to which the FDA has agreed.”

Traditional food production supply chains have a hub and spoke structure designed to trace foods just a step or two beyond each entity’s doors, or “one-up, one-back” traceability. Digital Supply Networks are an ideal solution to transition away from hub and spoke to a network model. Digital Supply Networks enable end-to-end food traceability across each step, along with the ability to take action. This visibility and actionability will be key for food manufacturers to meet the requirements of FSMA 204.

Beyond the traceability advantages for food safety, Tompkins Ventures has seen Digital Supply Networks reduce cost of goods sold, cash-to-cash cycle, length of time between order and delivery, total delivered cost, and increase gross operating margins across hundreds of suppliers in food, pharmaceutical, high tech and other sectors.

Digital Supply Networks do not happen overnight – they take time, effort, technology and expertise. The clock is ticking for those who produce, store, ship and sell food.