Quality Control and Food Traceability

Food traceability and safety is one of the most significant issues for consumers. Tracing food through the production and distribution chain to identify and address risks and protect public health has been a major concern recently.

Producers, manufacturers or retailers must be able to provide accurate and verified documententation regarding food sourcing, material flow and product traceability. Producers require traceable ingredients and a strong environmental quality control throughout the manufacturing process. Each link of the process chain has to be able to track where the products are from and then react efficiently in case of a recall or customer inquiry. If not, businesses ‘image can be damaged and thus revenue can suffer from their lack of product traceability. For instance, Spanghero, a famous meat producer, collapsed after the “Horse Gate” scandal which appeared in Europe few years ago.

Sectors

Why food traceability is needed

Product traceability is a way of responding to potential risks that can arise in food to ensure that all food products are safe to eat. It is vital that when national authorities or food businesses identify a risk they can trace it back to its source in order to swiftly isolate the problem and prevent contaminated products from reaching consumers. Past food crises, such as dioxin contamination and BSE, have illustrated the particular importance of being able to swiftly identify and isolate unsafe foodstuffs.

Food traceability is essential for a variety of food investigations and a valuable facilitator of global food trade. It involves the ability to identify, at any specified stage of the food chain from where the food came and to where the food went.

Recent government regulations and increased consumer pressure for accurate and complete product information continue to drive product traceability improvements for food safety and quality control.

Quality management

Sanitary alerts in quality management

Parties involved in a sanitary alert want it to be solved quickly through proficient quality management. Participants are usually retailers, manufacturers, point-of-sales, legal authorities and suppliers.

2 types of sanitary alerts are noticeable:

  • “From field to shelves”; e.g. A contaminated batch is identified, it must be recalled.
  • Specifications VS delivered products; e.g. FDA reports a sanitary alert on frozen blueberries from China due to water contamination, all products using this ingredient must be recalled.

The development of an appropriate plan of “recollect” adulterated or defective product in marketing channels and the planning of internal product traceability is also a function of the quality control department.

Audits and quality control

The Food and Beverage industry faces an unprecedented level of scrutiny. Consumers are not just concerned about the safety, food traceability and quality of products but also about the way in which they are produced.

Audits and quality control programs require a thorough report. Whether they are set up by internal teams or third party agencies, visibility on IFS BRC aspects is still low and corrective action plans to solve issues are not always implemented.

Most information is in check list format, and emails. Retailers, auditors and suppliers waste considerable time to identify and to verify due dates all along the quality control process.

Consumer care

Another assignment of quality control includes reviewing and responding to consumer complaints. When consumers send a complaint, they expect some follow-up and food traceability behind.

food traceability

Lascom traceability software

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