Global trade may lead to unclear supply chains and production takes often place far away from the consumer. Moreover, the multitude of ingredients and production steps as well as increased chance of technical or human error cause higher risks for the
As early as in the 1990s, some major food scandals have shaken consumer confidence. This lead to stricter laws and regulations. In 2002 the European Union adopted directive 178/02 that aimed to improve the security of consumers of food products. The core of this directive is the legal requirement of every trader and producer to implement a comprehensive batch tracking system.
Food traders and producers who want to sell their products in the EU are now required to show the complete batch history of their products whenever the authorities make such a request.
The requirement for traceability does not just cover the food products and their ingredients but every material that has come in contact with the item (such as packaging, dishware, etc.).
The original directive did not regulate any time frame in which the supplier or manufacturer should be able to comply. This still allowed for a handwritten administration. Due to some negative experiences the EU made in 2012 the directive stricter; now the
supplier or manufacturer should be able to produce the data “promptly and completely”.
A professional batch tracking system is nowadays an indispensable component of the quality management policies of a company.
In case of a recall, the amount of damage largely depends on the traceability of the goods. Speed and precision of the information are vital. Claims against your suppliers can only be valid when you
are able to prove their responsibility.
Seamless batch tracking shows the consumers that you take quality seriously. And it shows your customers that they can safely sell your products. Consumers are getting more aware of food safety issues and you can be sure that they will pick the safest
The ability to trace up to your suppliers (“upstream tracing”) depends on proper registration when receiving the goods and the quality of the suppliers. The trace should go all the way up to the primary producer, for instance the farmer.
The aim is to, in case of an emergency, quickly and accurately pinpoint to the supplier that caused the problem. This is especially important when an emergency arises.
Batch tracking in the production process means that the system should be able to provide you at any time with comprehensive information on which ingredients with which batches were used and where they came from and which employees were part of the process.
This information is crucial to quickly identify contaminations caused by either ingredients, machines or people.
Batch tracking to the customer (“downstream”) is essential when it comes to a recall.
A recall becomes necessary when the health of the consumer could be at risk. When this is the case, it’s crucial when all essential information becomes available quickly and precisely, in order to avoid further damage to the consumer and to your own company.