Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The intersection of food, and drugs

I read an article today about Nestle developing foods with "real" health benefits: Nestle to test effect of nutrients on human cells.  At first glance, the title infers to activities that are scary, ominous.  But further reading, you find that Nestle is developing foods that are good for you--provide health benefits beyond nutrition.

This is interesting for a number of reasons
First, there will need to be additional controls and processes added during manufacturing.  The product becomes more of a drug, less than a food.  So the same rigor and regulations that the pharmaceutical industry must meet (such as GMP, 21 CFR Part 11, etc.) will need to be maintained.  This will ripple into technology buys because likely the systems they have in place won't meet electronic signature, electronic batch record genealogy, revision control, etc.

Secondly, training.  A food worker is not necessarily a life sciences industry worker. There will be a massive retraining effort to keep workers compliant, educated, and ready.

Thirdly, packaging.  Drug packaging is not food packaging.  So similar to the investments made in making the product, they'll now need to improve the final packaging operations and equipment as well.

For the automation industry players like Invensys, this is great news, because we can assist our customers in meeting these new challenges, with validation services, software, like Manufacturing Execution and Batch Recipe Management, and consulting and support.

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