What is the traceability of food?
The traceability of foods means that as a food industry operator, you must be able to demonstrate the sources of raw materials and other foodstuffs you use, as well as where you have delivered your products. You must also know the purchase and delivery times of these products.
You must be able to demonstrate traceability by means of documentation and labelling included in foods or packaging.
Why is the precise traceability of foods important?
The better you are able to connect the information you have delivered, the better you will be able to limit the possibility of health hazards and financial losses and in the event of an incident.
How can I prevent incidents and ensure traceability?
- When receiving purchased foodstuffs, ensure that the raw materials and products correspond to your order.
- Ensure that the information in the product labelling and documentation (i.e. dispatch list) match one another.
- Ensure that the product labelling and documentation (i.e. dispatch list) include all information required by law.
Types of potential incidents
- What do you do if you have purchased a foodstuff containing an allergen that you have failed to notice from the labelling? Is it possible that information about the allergen has not been passed on to the labelling of your product?
- What do you do if you have purchased a foodstuff containing food poisoning bacteria and only become aware of the fact a week later? How many delivered products already contain the harmful ingredient, and where have they been delivered?
The above are examples of incidents that may require you to withdraw the food products in question from the market, in other words from the companies or consumers to whom they were delivered. If you have correctly stored all information on traceability, this procedure is simple. With these measures, you can also demonstrate to your food control authority that your practices regarding traceability and potential incidents are in order.
For how long should information on traceability be stored?
The information must stored for at least one year. In the case of beef, the required storage period is two years.