As grocers across the country prepare for November when section 204 of the The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) goes into effect, the National Grocers Association (NGA) and ReposiTrak have created an alliance to help independent grocers tackle these compliance issues, NGA said on Thursday.
NGA entered the multiyear agreement with Utah-based compliance-management firm ReposiTrak to be NGA’s traceability and supplier compliance partner. The partnership will serve as a step forward in bringing guidance, education and support to the independent wholesale and retail grocery community, NGA said in a statement.
The FDA has stated that the initial list of 16 categories and thousands of products covered by Section 204 is the starting point to further improve the safety of the food supply chain, the the NGA, the trade association representing the independent supermarket industry, said in a statement.
The FSMA is designed to help the FDA "rapidly and effectively" tamp down or prevent foodborne illness outbreaks, through enhanced traceability, the agency said.
“Food safety is of paramount importance to independent grocers and their supplier partners,” said Greg Ferrara, NGA president and CEO, in a statement. “NGA’s partnership with ReposiTrak is the latest in a series of ongoing initiatives to enhance value for our members by sharing best practices in an area that’s crucial to safeguarding the hard-earned trust that retailers and manufacturers have with consumers.”
As for retailers, wholesalers and their trading partners, NGA said this will mean a need to maintain records of every movement of several fresh product categories from the point of origin to the point of sale to the consumer.
“NGA’s strategic partnership and support of the ReposiTrak Traceability Network is the first step toward industry-wide adoption of our easy and inexpensive solution that will improve food safety, enable faster and more precise recalls, and even usher in the potential for food waste reduction and better transparency for consumers,” said ReposiTrak Chairman and CEO Randy Fields in a statement. “Through our more than two decades of work in the grocery supply chain, we’ve come to understand that traceability will be inherently good for the industry.”
As part of this partnership, ReposiTrak will be the exclusive traceability and supplier compliance provider in NGA’s partner program. NGA will host online thought leadership content and share it across various platforms, including website, newsletters and email blasts, as well as a webinar series. Additionally, ReposiTrak will participate in NGA events and offer a special rate for its services to NGA member companies, the trade association said.
Earlier this month, the NGA welcomed the introduction of the Credit Card Competition Act of 2022, a bipartisan credit card reform bill aimed at providing competition to the credit card marketplace and lowering acceptance costs for merchants and consumers.
U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Senator Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-KS) introduced the bipartisan Credit Card Competition Act of 2022, legislation that would enhance competition and choice in the credit card network market, which is currently dominated by the Visa-Mastercard duopoly.
“Credit card swipe fees inflate the prices that consumers pay for groceries and gas. It’s time to inject real competition into the credit card network market, which is dominated by the Visa-Mastercard duopoly,” said Durbin in a statement.
“The fees associated with accepting credit card payments is one of the highest costs of doing business for many U.S. merchants, including independent community grocers. These ‘swipe fees’ have a direct impact on our members’ operations and the viability of their businesses,” said Ferrara, in a statement. “Competitive grocers make a 1 percent net profit margin in a good year. Unfortunately, we do not see the same level of competitiveness in the credit card marketplace, which is why credit card fees increase annually without any free-market forces to drive down costs.”
The Washington, D.C.-based National Grocers Association (NGA), represents 21,000 independent grocers throughout the U.S.,