food traceability guide

Food Traceability Guide

  1. Defining your food traceability requirements
  2. Food Recalls, audits, mock audits
  3. Food inventory management system
  4. Supply chain transparency
  5. Block-chain traceability

Defining food traceability requirements

The traceability of the food sector has become a priority. It is essential to provide transparency and security to consumers who are demanding healthier products with a higher quality and the best nutritional characteristics. But it is also important for producers, because it ensures the quality of the raw material which is introduced into the food chain, allowing certification and accreditation of their products, quickly locating problematic items, and implementing control systems, preventing fraud and unfair competition between producers.

Food Traceability is much more than applying a label to the finished packed food product.  Producepak delivers strict food traceability guidelines for supply chain 'end to end' food safety & transparency.

Ensuring that the traceability chain has no gaps in it is important to reduce the risk exposure of your business.  If there is a breach in the traceability chain, then the whole traceability enforcement system has failed and becomes a pointless expense.  Producepak ensures 100% accuracy of traceability throughout the entire life-cycle of food manufacturing, from food ingredients, packaging, food manufacturing process, to post sales traceability guideline adherence.  Producepak ensures your business is not unnecessarily exposed, while minimizing compliance costs.

Producepak food manufacturing software provides a strong platform for accurate recording of food traceability records, via a variety of easy and logical methods.  Risk exposure to the pack shed is greatly reduced by having resolution traceability guideline compliance, which in turn reduces financial exposure to the food business should a recall become necessary.  Accurate food traceability reduces the quantity of fruit/vegetables in a recall, and therefore reduces the businesses financial exposure.  High traceability helps to open new markets for food, and improves customer confidence in food quality.

Best practice standards for food traceability such as BRC, GlobalGAP, ISO, HACCP, CanGAP, EuroGAP, (and many more) are supported by Producepak, making compliance and audits easy and less expensive.

food traceability guide
food traceability guide
The Producepak fresh produce traceability system constitutes thousands of processes & guidelines that are integrated throughout the entire system, guiding users to record correct food traceability details at the correct time.

Producepak' food manufacturing “Traceability” module isn’t a stand alone module.  Traceability is built into the core of Producepak, in every process, action, and document.  Producepak minimizes the data capture and entry costs associated with fresh produce traceability using various innovative techniques.

Food manufacturing plants, Pack sheds and pack-houses are experiencing new levels of regulatory control in the traceability space using Producepak traceability. Contemporary industrialized food packing has become increasingly regulated over the past decade. There are now literally hundreds of thousands of regulations world wide that relate to the Traceability and Food Safety of the production food for human consumption.

food traceability
food traceability

Recalls, audits, mock audits

A fresh food traceability system must allow easy, and rapid recalls of raw food materials, packaging materials, and part/finished food products. The following list is the minimum recall and instant audit ability that should be achieved (this data should be available to the user within 10 seconds or less to demonstrate it is unadulterated):

  • Trace batch input materials and recall through supply chain to customer
  • Individual fruit/vegetable piece (based on piece label)
  • Packed finish product recall
  • Pallet recall
  • Invoice recall
  • Purchase Order (for source or batch input goods) recall
  • Suppliers Reference recall
  • Supplier Company recall
  • Manufacturer recall
  • Farming block/area recall (Requires FarmSoft Farm solution)
  • Location recall, based on storage location and date/date range

Note that all food recalls should also instantly provide associated quality control test results for easy reference.

Food traceability management system

Traceability is considered to be a vital issue for all stakeholders in food supply chains. The most important driver is the increasing societal need to guarantee food quality and provenance. Because consumers cannot know in detail what processing steps are executed in the production of food and what ingredients or resources are used in these steps, they want to be assured that food products are safe, healthy, sustainable, and of high and consistent quality. The need for guarantees is strengthened by the continuing sequence of food calamities, which have required massive product recalls, sometimes even on a European scale. Recent examples include the horse meat scandal and the Escherichia coli outbreak. The societal concern about food safety has resulted in a lot of legislation, including, for example, the obligation for traceability in the European General Food Law (Article 18). Food companies have to comply with consumers' demands and legislation. Moreover, they want to minimize costs and image damage when incidents occur. On the other hand, traceability optimizes business processes along the supply chain in order to improve efficiency and reduce lead times and food waste, among other things.

Producepak is a cloud based business management solution for fresh produce processing, packing, and wholesale can enforce most traceability requirements simply through its implementation, and should include these minimum functionality:

  • Traceability can start at the point of purchase order creation for inventory, or can start at the point delivery of produce from a supplier, back on the farm, before planting has taken place (if you are using FarmSoft Farm Management).
  • Choose from various traceability frameworks to implement based on your traceability and food safety standards and regional requirements.
  • Automated traceability reduces paperwork and compliance costs
  • Capture and archive (for rapid recall) all traceability records related to use of materials, employees, equipment – suitable for use with CANG.A.P., HACCP, GlobalGAP, BRC, EureoGap FarmSafe, PTI , ISOx and more…
  • Materials and inventory can be issued with system generated Inventory ID labels which contain a unique Inventory Number that relates to the inventories traceability details. The Inventory Number can be recorded via a mobile device when used, or entered onto a task sheet for later entry; this method makes recording of inventory very rapid and accurate.
  • Individual task Quality Check by QC officer, including time, officer, date, and notes (see FarmSoft Quality Control)
  • The FarmSoft system will reject delivery of produce that is still within a PHI/Pre Harvest Interval or withholding period.
  • Unauthorized harvests will be rejected upon delivery to ensure maximum quality of fresh produce traceability
  • Share your choice of supply chain information using the FarmSoft Traceability Code – allowing either customers or end consumers to rapidly access your selected traceability and marketing information by simply scanning a bar-code with their smartphone or entering a code online
  • Strict control over the Fruit Packing Process ensures traceability is maintained even when mixing fresh produce from multiple origins, essential for fruit packing traceability
  • Strictly automated Fresh Produce Inventory / Fresh Produce Stock Control and Mobile Inventory ensures traceability enforcement
  • Orders, Contracts, Sales, Invoice, and Dispatch processes are tied to exact pallet ID, inventory ID, batch ID, and container numbers, ensuring instant traceability from either end of the supply chain

Today traceability is used in many different industries, especially production industries, and several definitions of traceability exist. Although the ambiguity and lack of definition relating to the word “trace” is a significant weakness in most of these definitions, the concept is clear: each link records what it is doing, relates it to “that which is under consideration,” and provides a mechanism for getting access to these recordings later on. Previous studies have shown that information about food products and production processes can be lost internally within companies, as well as between companies in supply chains. A traceability system can be simple (one-up-one-down traceability) with only a limited set of data; costs would be low and implementation would be easy. Traceability can also be more complex and encompass more data and larger parts of the chain. The chosen level will determine the complexity of the traceability system and can affect the practical solutions and specification of the IT systems in the implementation of traceability. The chosen traceability level depends on a company’s need for traceable information, both related to their own internal processes and to relevant attributes generated in other links of the supply chain (where did the raw materials and ingredients come from, where did the product go, which properties were generated and recorded). Implementation of food traceability can be complex and involves many different aspects that affect each other. A number of problems and implementation hurdles can occur before, during, and after implementation of food traceability. Motivation has a central role when discussing the factors affecting the implementation of traceability. The willingness of the employees at all levels within a company to cooperate and their motivation to implement traceability has an enormous impact on the implementation process. The motivation can also vary significantly between the different links of a supply chain.

Producepak Food Traceability Software manages every facet of food traceability for  a wide range of food manufacturers, fruit, vegetable, coffee, flower, hop, and other fresh food packing requirements. Combine Producepak's Food manufacturing software with FarmSoft Farm Management to create seamless traceability from pre-planting to post pack shed sales.

FarmSoft Packhouse & Pack Shed Software ensures that all fruit and vegetable (and other types of fresh produce) are labeled and traced upon arrival at the Packhouse or Pack Shed.

Food can be bar-coded upon delivery to the factory (or labeled in the field if chosen).  The bar-code will identify the fresh produce for its entire lifecycle ensuring strict adherence to traceability levels such as GlobalGAP, PTI – Produce Traceability Initiative, HACCP, ISO, BRC, FarmSafe, and more.

Food is scanned when sorted in the pack shed, this ensures Packhouse and Pack Shed managers know where all produce is at all times, and are able to view the history of the movement of fruit and vegetables to trace any potential contamination points that may occur during the pack shed or Packhouse processes.

Producepak food Traceability Software provides an extremely high level of traceability management and transparency; all the way to the individual unit of food. Traceability labels can be applied at many levels throughout the packing and manufacturing/value add process.

Food chain transparency

As food supply chains become more complex and both global trade and large-scale production bring about new health and safety challenges, large industrial stakeholders and governments react with introducing or mandating traceability measures to limit health risks induced by contaminated material and losses due to subsequent recall actions. Since the early 2000s, the food industry witnessed the introduction of strict traceability regulations on various levels of governance, and currently, national, regional, and global networks and services are being rolled out to enable end-to-end traceability in food supply chains. In parallel to these efforts, advances in identifier, sensor, and indicator technology, as well as changes in consumer communities, are setting the stage for further development within the food industry, as well as in the interaction of industry and end consumers. A summary of these recent developments is given here, highlighting potentials, critical points, expected trends, and interdependencies of this changing domain.

Scan Consumer Unit Barcode

fresh produce traceability for fruit & vegetables
Fresh Produce Traceability

Scan Trade Unit Barcode

fresh produce traceability for fruit & vegetables
Fresh Produce Traceability

Enter Code from any Unit

fresh produce traceability for fruit & vegetables
Fresh Produce Traceability

Why use block-chain or supply chain label sharing tools in the food industry?

Challenges and opportunities of Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) adoption for food traceability are treated and evaluated considering, in food supply chains, the different areas (production process, logistics, and distribution) and applications (process, warehouse and retail management, cold chain monitoring, logistic, intelligent packaging, and anticounterfeit). The options offered by RFID systems at different frequencies are presented, compared, and discussed, considering the difficulties and constraints which limit the large-scale adoption in the food sector. Aspects which should be carefully evaluated when designing traceability frameworks considering traceable unit size, reading system configuration in static and dynamic conditions, orientation, tag size, and tag-to-tag collision problem are covered.

Examples of RFID implementations in a particular food supply chain, such as meat, cheese, fish, food and vegetables, and plants are reported.

How can end consumers users scan food traceability information?

Fresh produce traceability guide
Fresh produce traceability guide

Traceability has become an essential requirement to ensure the quality of food products that reach the market. Their implementation in the food industry involves the development of control systems of raw materials, from their entry into the chain of production to their marketing, ensuring the quality and reliability of food for both the producer and the consumer.

The growth of the international trade and the increase of the number of potentially marketable species require reliable and rapid methods to verify the authenticity of the products and their origin. Numerous genetic methods are currently applied for the detection, identification, and authentication of species. But nowadays, genetic methods are most commonly used because of their advantages over the morphological characters or protein based methods, as their high robustness, reliability, efficiency, specificity and sensitivity. In this chapter, all these techniques are introduced and explained in more detail, as well as their application in traceability systems of many types of food.

Who do I share the information with?

If you place labels on retail units, obviously only your customers will have access to the code. If you place codes on consumer units, end users will also have access to your choice of traceability information.

What information can I share?

Turn on or off the following details:

  • You can write a few paragraphs about your company, quality, and produce. This will be shown at the start of all traceability results
  • Company Name
  • Company Logo
  • Produce, Variety
  • Traded Unit/Finished product name
  • Batch Number
  • Batch Pack Date
  • Land Origin
  • Weight & Measure
  • Country of Origin
  • Shipped on Pallet Number
  • Pallet Creation Date
  • Ship Date
  • Transport Company
  • Transport Reference
  • Invoice Number
  • Sales order Number
  • Customer Reference (from Sales Order)
  • Invoice Custom Field 1, 2, 3, and 4
  • Quality Control Results
What labels can I use?

Use standard traceability labels built into farmsoft, or request a tailored label built to your exact specifications. Labels can be virtually any shape and size, and contain any information you wish to show in human readable format or encoded into your chosen format of bar-code.

Food Traceability

Near Infrared (NIR) spectroscopy has been developed as one of the most versatile methods to target authenticity, discrimination, or traceability issues in several food matrices. However, in order to adapt and apply this method to efficiently and consistently monitor authenticity issues in foods, we need to increase our understanding about the chemical and biochemical basis associated with origin/authenticity/traceability derived from the NIR spectra. One of the main advantages of NIR spectroscopy over traditional chemical and chromatographic methods (eg, High Performance Liquid Chromatography, Gas Chromatography, Gas Chromatography–Mass Spectrometry) are the speed, minimal sample preparation, and ease to use in an industrial setting or routine operations. This chapter will provide a general introduction to NIR spectroscopy and chemometrics. In addition, examples on the applications and uses of NIR spectroscopy targeting issues related with authenticity and traceability in several food products such as fish, meat, honey, and wine will be discussed.

What is the scope of this fresh produce traceability guideline?

■ Applies to fresh fruit and vegetables for human consumption.

■ Traceability practices from grower to retail store or food service operator (i.e. external traceability).

■ Applies to all levels of product and shipping containers, including pallets, cases and consumer items.

The contribution of inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) to food classification is described in this chapter, with concern both to the determination of element concentrations and the determination of isotope ratios. Some preliminary concepts are described in the first paragraphs, referring to the technique and to the meaning of authentication, traceability, and classification. The production chains of the main food categories are then described with a focus on the possible sources of elements; for every category, examples of scientific studies are cited.

From the information provided, it appears clearly that ICP-MS is at present one of the most useful techniques in the field of food classification. The potential of strontium isotope ratio and of multielement profiling is proved by the large number of studies on different foodstuffs, from the most simple production chains (fruit and vegetable products) to the most complex ones (meat and fishes).

fresh produce traceability for fruit & vegetables
fresh produce traceability for fruit & vegetables

Food Traceability Definitions

■ Traceability is the ability to trace the history, application or location of that which is under consideration. [ISO 9001: 2000]

■ External Traceability is the business processes that occur between trading partners and the information/data exchanged to execute traceability.

■ Internal Traceability is the proprietary data and business processes a company uses within its own span of operations to execute traceability.1.4.2.

This chapter deals with the description of advanced technologies in animal tracing. Two main components are required in the process of animal tracing: technologies for animal identification and technologies for information storage and management. These technologies are introduced in Section 1. In particular, technologies for animal identification are described, focusing on the analysis of Alternative Electronic ID Technologies. A deep description of the main issues related to animals tracing is also provided. The limitations of ordinary and electronic systems have been overcome by the introduction of various biometric identifiers. Biometric identifiers are discussed in Section 2, including retinal scans, muzzle patterns in cattle (or nose prints), immunological labeling, and DNA analysis. Alternative and possible future technologies, based on the use of ontology-based systems to address many of the problems with data standards and data interchanging, are described in Section 3. Finally, some conclusions are provided.
■ Trading parties (your suppliers, your own company, your customers, 3rd party carriers)
■ Trading locations (can be any physical location such as a warehouse, packing line, storage facility, receiving dock or store)  Traceability for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Implementation Guide Issue 2, May-2010 All contents copyright © GS1 Page 9 of 57
■ The products your company uses or creates
■ The logistics units your company receives or ships
■ Inbound and outbound shipments The GS1 Global Traceability Standard also defines the essential pieces of information that have to be collected, recorded and shared to ensure one step up, one step down traceability. The standard is applicable to companies of all size and geography.While the GS1 Global Traceability Standard may be implemented independently from any specific technology, best business practices require adoption of bar coding on cases and/or pallets.Businesses are further encouraged to adopt electronic messaging to exchange essential business information. These technologies will be explored in the sections that follow. GS1 is a not-for-profit standards organisation with member affiliates in every country. Together with local/national produce trade associations they are important resources that are able to help your company understand the most effective way to implement traceability with your trading partners. They can also help your company to connect with technology providers that serve the produce industry.Information on how to obtain a copy of the Global Traceability Standard appears in Appendix A1.4.3. Traceability Principles
■ A company must determine what needs to be traced. This is commonly referred to as the“traceable item.” A traceable item can be:□ a product or traded item (e.g. case/carton, consumer item)□ a Logistic Unit (e.g. bin, container)□ a shipment or movement of a product or trade item There must be agreement between trading partners on what the traceable item is. This ensures that both partners are tracking the same thing. Otherwise the chain will be broken. Each Trading Partner must define at least one level of traceable item for each shipment.
■ All traceable items must be uniquely identified and this information is shared between all affected supply chain partners.
■ At a minimum, the identification of products for the purpose of traceability requires:□ The assignment of a unique GS1 Global Trade Item Number (GTIN)□ The assignment of a batch / lot.
■ When a product is reconfigured and/or re-packed, the new product must be assigned a new unique product identification (i.e. GTIN). A linkage must be maintained between the new product and its original inputs.
■ When a Logistic Unit is reconfigured, the new Logistic Unit must be assigned a new unique identification (i.e. SSCC). A linkage must be maintained between the new Logistic Unit and its original input.
■ All supply chain parties must systematically link the physical flow of products with the flow of information about them. Traceable item identification numbers must be communicated on related business documents.

Producepak provides an easy to use food traceability app; integrating the worlds most common food traceability and food safety guidelines into the every day operations management for food manufacturers.

The global economy in food products is struggling with the new threat of bioterrorism. People are very concerned about this issue and the implications of foodborne illness outbreaks. Establishing the security of the food supply chain requires control of food products in addition to regulations. In the United States, the Bioterrorism Act includes requirements in this area regarding the establishment of records to identify the immediate previous sources and immediate subsequent recipients of food, including its packaging; this is in effect for larger processors (US Food and Drug Administration, 2002). Food security regulations have been implemented in most countries worldwide; therefore every company must comply with food processing regulations. Enforcement depends on the size of the company. In response to these concerns, distributors and processors of food products are taking action by implementing traceability both of ingredients and finished goods products. Large business players in food products are demanding traceability from their suppliers as standard operation in running the business; most processors and suppliers have recently recognized that a traceability system that can be used to prove food safety must be implemented as a minimum operations standard.

In order to improve and optimize food traceability, it is highly recommended to start implementing a real-time tracking and remote monitoring at some stage. Wireless sensor technologies have been proven of high value due to their remote communications when retrieving data was not possible in a traditional way. The implementations of the Internet of Things (IoT) will provide intelligence to the traceability system that, combined with the most recent advancements, such as Near Field Communication (NFC) tags and temperature estimation methods, can create solid and reliable food traceability. All these concepts have to be applied to the cold chain, where most of the goods transported or stored are characterized by a limited shelf life, and the intensive control can lead to money savings. There are still many limitations and challenges, but it is shown in this chapter how real-time tracking and remote monitoring can reveal, in many cases, unseen issues, reduce undesired situations, reduce handling of goods, and reduce food waste.

fresh produce traceability for fruit & vegetables
fresh produce traceability for fruit & vegetables

The best practice is to use the GS1 Global Location Number (GLN). GLN is a standard that can be used to uniquely identify your company and its premises. GLN’s can be allocated either by a GS1 Member Organisation or by your company using your GS1 Company Prefix.Additional information about GLN assignment.

As a consequence of the multiple food scandals in Europe during the last two decades of the 20th Century, such as the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE, or mad cow disease) and the dioxin contamination of chicken feed in Belgium, the European Commission drew the first rules requiring the implementation of traceability in food chains at the Union level. This chapter looks closer at how the European Union body of law related to food traceability came into being, what the legal text entails, what are the consequences of this text, and if the approach of the legislature is consistent throughout the legal norms.


Food traceability guide