A Global Issue: The Importance of Traceability in Food Supply Chain
Food traceability, the ability to track food through all stages of production, processing and distribution, has been a hot topic in the microbiology and food safety industries.
What is driving the discussion?
In the last five years, many events sparked this greater focus on traceability in food supply chains. Chipotle’s issues on sourcing, humanely raised meat, and E. coli were all well publicised in 2015. In that same year, various news outlets like the BBC reported that diners and restaurants in Belgium substituted 30% of fish with cheaper alternatives. Existing figures on food crime also point to a significant increase in the number of confirmed cases each year.
Compliance to Food Safety Laws, Delay Prevention
Food safety laws, regulations and standards are enforcing the necessity for businesses, laboratories and factories to manufacture food to be transparent in their processes. As the laws become stricter, businesses must comply.
Responding and conforming to these food safety laws are especially critical in not only protecting the public health, but also protecting the financial longevity and the image of the organisation. Fort Richard Laboratories Ltd suggests that in order to ensure compliance, organisations must not only have traceability systems in place, but must also track and trace food a step back a step forward. This should include the ability to identify the source of all food inputs, from the raw materials and additives to even the packaging.
Apart from ensuring public health and compliance to laws, food traceability also allows organisations prevent delays in responding to a product recall.
Enforcing Better Food Traceability
An effective traceability system should isolate and prevent contaminated foods from reaching consumers, especially during a product recall. Traceability should also be integrated in an organisation’s product recall management plan.
Today’s food supply chain is a complex maze, and it is dynamic and global in nature – and organisations can only keep up when tackling the different issues surrounding it, and that includes food traceability.