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Food Traceability Systems and Technologies

Onion Fungal Diseases_111322A
[Onion Fungal Diseases - Cornell University]

- Overview

Billions of people around the world are at risk of obtaining unsafe food. There is an urgent need to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of food supply chains. The global population is expected to reach at least 9 billion by 2050, requiring 70% more food than today, and requiring food production and distribution to become more sustainable.

Today, food safety is a global concern for many food safety scandal. As supply chains become more global and complex, the ability to track and trace products from fork to farm becomes more difficult, but still equally important.

Good traceability minimizes production and distribution of unsafe or poor quality products. It allows targeting of products affected by food safety concerns, minimizing trade disruption and any potential public health risks.


- Traceability In Global Food Industry

For a decade or more, the food industry has struggled to trace food from its source in the field or ocean to its final purchase. These traceability efforts are gaining momentum. Over the past six years, Britain and France have passed laws making holding companies liable for human rights abuses that occur in their supply chains. French law also covers environmental abuse, and a new law in Germany will come into force in 2023.

Proposed U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations will require players in the food value chain to maintain sortable, end-to-end electronic records that can be provided on request within 24 hours during a foodborne illness outbreak or food recall investigation.

The global movement to hold food companies accountable for the origin of the goods they grow, distribute and sell creates an opportunity to design a broad range of beneficial solutions for food systems and safety. Industry participants ready to transform their supply chains may see improved value creation and societal benefits as a result of proposed FDA regulations. 


- FSMA and Traceability

The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) addresses the need for rapid and effective tracking and tracing of foods. FSMA section 204, Enhancing Tracking and Tracing of Food and Recordkeeping, instructs the FDA to develop additional recordkeeping requirements for certain foods.

The regulation could encourage progress on several fronts:

  • Greater inventory transparency and supply and demand planning
  • Achieve climate and sustainability goals faster, such as reducing emissions and reducing food waste
  • Greater supplier diversity and fairer labor practices in the supply chain
  • Consumer and market forces drive the ability of supply chains to improve environmental and social sustainability

[Jerusalem, Israel - C. Paul David]

- FSMA Rule 204 and Food Traceability System

FSMA Rule 204 is finalized on November 15, 2022. This new regulation affects many fresh food categories, including produce and seafood. Make compliance easy and gain greater visibility into your supply chain with traceability software.

Food traceability systems are tools that help you record, track and verify the history of a product and where it has arrived in the supply chain. Food traceability systems give you tools like batch numbers so you can locate your product anywhere in the distribution route.  

Food traceability will allow you to monitor perishable inventory, giving you the tools to maintain business compliance and execute product recalls.

The best food traceability systems will help you easily find information about the raw materials (whether batches or individual ingredients) used in your product and the route through which the product was made. 

Product traceability is also used in other industries such as: drug, coffee manufacturing, and Cosmetic manufacturing.


- The Benefits of Improved Food Traceability

Food traceability is the ability to track the movement of food and its ingredients through all steps (before and after) in the supply chain. Traceability involves recording and linking the production, processing and distribution chains of food and ingredients. 

The benefits of improved food traceability cannot be overstated. In today's interconnected and interdependent food systems, most of the food we eat travels many miles. It passes through many nodes in the food supply chain, and our knowledge of food and its journey from origin to consumer is often limited. To help ensure the safety of food and its ingredients at all steps in the process, we must be able to track its movement. This is the definition of traceability and why it is so important to safeguarding public health and maintaining consumer confidence in the food supply.

In the event of a foodborne illness outbreak or contamination incident, effective product traceability can help government agencies and those who produce and sell food to quickly locate the source of the product and where contamination may have occurred. This allows affected products to be removed from the market more quickly, reducing the incidence of foodborne illness.



[More to come ...]

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