Traceability is taking centre stage in the food and beverage industry.
More and more restaurants are advertising their ingredients to come from ‘farm-to-table’ which means food acquisition from local farms or direct from the source. Food traceability is becoming increasingly important across the world, not only in terms of protecting consumer health and ensuring food safety, but also in terms of meeting international standards.
But what is food traceability?
Defining Food Traceability
Food traceability is the capability to track an ingredient or food through every stage of production to ensure food products are safe for consumers to eat. It means all food activity can be traced one step forward and back at any point in the supply chain.
Let’s see why food traceability is becoming increasingly important.
The Rise of Food Traceability
In 2012, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) updated the information on food product traceability and product recall obligations. According to the new standards, all food and beverage suppliers must understand their obligations in the two critical areas, and food businesses must provide information about the food they serve and its point of origin.
In addition to following new standards, prioritising food traceability means you can identify a risk and trace it back to its source. This way, you can quickly isolate problems and prevent contaminants like pesticides, mycotoxins and veterinary drugs from reaching end users.
In the event of a food-borne illness outbreak, such as the documented salmonella outbreak published in AIA.edu.au, you can easily determine the source of the disease, and stop an even wider outbreak from occurring. Employees with a certificate in food hygiene will reduce the risk of food contamination, but traceability ensures your kitchen avoids an incident from the very beginning.
Implementing Food Traceability
So how can you ensure food traceability?
Implement processes and systems that allow you to trace raw materials to finished products. Keep records and document materials sourced from all suppliers as well, and record the movement of the supplies.
As the regulatory and business landscape continue to evolve, companies in the food and beverage industry, from meat shops to restaurants, will need to adapt quickly. Focusing on food traceability is one way to do just that.