This implies communication between organizations both upstream and downstream in the food chain. Communication with customers and suppliers about identified hazards and control measures will assist in clarifying customer and supplier requirements. The most effective food safety systems are established, operated and updated within the framework of a structured management system and incorporated into the overall management activities of the organization. This provides maximum benefit for the organization and interested parties. ISO can be applied independently of other management system standards or integrated with existing management system requirements.

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Traceability facilitates and precisely targets the recall or withdrawal of foods when necessary; enables consumers to be provided with targeted and accurate information concerning implicated products; and is crucial to the investigation of the causes of food poisoning and other contamination outbreaks.

Thus traceability is an indispensible feature of food safety. Long before there was any attempt to legislate for traceability, responsible food manufacturers, in their own enlightened self-interest, operated their own traceability schemes.

The impetus to develop legislation was public and governmental concern in many countries over food poisoning and other contamination outbreaks including potential bio-terrorism , despite all the food safety legislation that existed. Traceability necessitates that each lot of each food material is given a unique identifier which accompanies it and is recorded at all stages of its progress through its food chain. Issues Prevailing in Product Traceability Multi-ingredient foods may include materials from a variety of food chains and countries, importers may have to rely on the traceability systems if any of other countries up to the point of import.

This may be particularly difficult in the case of developing countries. Obvious areas of difficulty are where a received or sold bulk supply is a sometimes heterogeneous mixture of lots, or where a bulk supply such as of grain, coffee, olive oil, rice, and milk from multiple farms is delivered into bulk containers or silos, or where a received or sold pallet load of containers includes a mixture of lots. However, the major problem areas are reliance on all business operators to maintain adequate records and internal traceability; and the frustrating slowness when utilizing traceability for outbreak investigations.

This has given rise to the search for a new food traceability concept that emerged around and that has potential to revolutionize global food traceability. One-Up, One-Down Approach The OUOD approach requires food supply chain participants to be capable of identifying, through records maintained by the company, the immediate supplier and customer of an identified food material.

Although even the smallest of food businesses at least in developed countries typically use some form of accounting system, the normal processes and records related to purchasing, receiving and shipping products are sometimes insufficient to fulfill the OUOD requirement or may be unaccompanied by effective internal traceability or maintenance of the onward integrity of the material identifier.

When investigating suspected food poisoning or other contamination, investigations using the OUOD approach are tedious and time consuming. Naturally, the process is serial, in such situations; investigators must first review documents at the last known supply chain node in order to identify the next node up the chain.

Although regulations vary from country to country, these usually permit investigators immediate access to records when on site. Since legal consequences may ensue from any investigation, supply chain participants are typically permitted 24 hours to respond to specific requests for information. Assuming each supply chain participant uses the full 24 hours, it may take days or weeks for investigators to work their way back through the chain s to identify the source of contamination.

Keeping in mind that investigators are often unsure as to the source of contamination, and as multi-ingredient food products contain materials received from several separate food chains many such investigations must be done simultaneously. When the source of contamination is identified, the process is then used in reverse to identify product for recall. In addition to being tedious and time consuming for investigators, investigations are often unnecessarily disruptive to many businesses along each supply chain investigated and more consumers may be adversely affected in the meantime.

Even if it is assumed that all necessary data are present and error free, it is clear that this OUOD system is not designed to point investigators quickly to likely sources of contamination.

Adding real-life complexities related to incomplete, missing or erroneous data simply adds to the time and tediousness of food recall investigations. ISO provides a standard for traceability in the feed and food chain — General principles and basic requirements for system design and implementation ISO The Agriculture and Rural Development Department ARD of the World Bank in collaboration with infoDev a global grant program managed by the World Bank to promote innovative projects on the use of information and communication technologies embarked in an effort to explore and capture the expanding knowledge and use of Information and Communication Technology ICT tools in agrarian livelihoods.

In November , the World Bank released an electronic Sourcebook e-Sourcebook to initiate further investment in this sector. It consists of standalone modules. The Produce Traceability Initiative PTI , sponsored by Canadian Produce Marketing Association, GS1 US, Produce Marketing Association and United Fresh Produce Association, is designed to help the produce industry maximize the effectiveness of current trace-back procedures, while developing a standardized industry approach to enhance the speed and efficiency of traceability systems for the future Porter et al.

The PTI has a bold vision which outlines a course of action to achieve supply chain-wide adoption of electronic traceability of every case of produce by the year The main thrust of PTI has been standardization of data structures and presentation of data on cases and pallets of produce.

Therefore, benefits from PTI are more likely to be reduction in data errors and perhaps greater efficiency by supply chain participants in collection and dissemination of traceability data. Additionally, it is questionable whether PTI can or will be more widely adopted by other segments of the food industry.

The Global Traceability Standard GTS is promulgated by GS1, an international not-for-profit association with member organizations in over countries. GTS makes traceability systems possible on a global scale, all along the supply chain, no matter how many companies are involved or how many borders are crossed, no matter what technologies are used. Future of Food Traceability — Critical Tracking Events Efforts to improve food traceability typically identify two major goals, namely speed and accuracy.

Standardization will likely improve accuracy, but will not do much to improve speed. Speed and accuracy are both necessary to realize benefits from any food traceability system in terms of illness, lives, waste and inventory control. The OUOD approach, regardless of data standardization is simply not capable of providing the speed that will be required by the industry or regulators. The Critical Tracking Event CTE concept is becoming widely accepted as the path to a next generation fast and effective food traceability system McEntire et al.

The CTE approach is a bottom-up approach that is inherently secure in terms of data ownership, data access and proprietary information protection.

The CTE approach recognizes that each operator knows their own operations best and provides complete latitude as to how to collect CTE traceability data. The CTE approach shifts focus from the food product itself to the events that manipulate the product in the supply chain. As each operator handles a food product harvests, creates, receives, mingles, aggregates, palletizes, depalletizes, relocates, ships, etc. Some of these events are critical to the ultimate traceability of the product.

The modern concepts and technologies associated with relational distributed data provide confidence that the CTE model will be much more effective in terms of speed and accuracy. Unlike other approaches that are mired in exhaustive data field identification and standardization, the CTE approach requires very little data, none of which need be descriptive in any way of the product.

Since the goal of the food traceability system is to connect investigators with the source of contamination as quickly as possible, there is little value in collecting large amounts of even standardized data from every node in the supply chain when only a few or even none of the nodes may be of actual interest to the investigation. Rather, it would be preferable to skip nodes that are not interesting to the investigation, saving precious time for investigators as well as time and angst for many food businesses.

This ability of the CTE approach to quickly and effortlessly elucidate the actual supply chain through CTEs is the major benefit over OUOD based approaches regardless of data standardization. Additionally, once the source of contamination is identified, the CTE based food traceability system is just as capable of trace forward as trace back, which means that rapid, targeted and accurate food product recalls will be possible.

When applying this definition, it is easy to see that the many important and often proprietary business process data are not necessary to achieve traceability with CTEs. Transformative CTEs mixing, repacking, etc.

Under the CTE approach, each operator would determine how best to collect and store data. Some might be able to maintain a CTE Server on-site. Smaller businesses might choose to house CTE data at a third-party cloud based service provider. The company could then review the request and authorize a response.

Transformative CTEs would provide the link between products and ingredients. At this point, investigators would be able to clearly visualize the supply chain for the item in terms of locations, dates and times. Assuming other investigations are on-going, there may be nodes that are common to separate investigations e.

In such cases, investigators would be drawn directly to the point of convergence rather than working their way backwards through a cumbersome OUOD system.

Companies may choose to use or not use existing product codes or coding schemes. The CTE traceability approach simply requires product codes that are globally unique Welt, Since many current industries coding schemes use qualitative information as part of the code e. This can be avoided by associating the CTE traceability code to appropriate lot numbers within the enterprise database. Identifying the lot associated with a particular item would be a matter of a simple database query and can be done by appropriately authorized personnel.

Implementation of CTE traceability does not interfere with any existing business processes. However, CTEs require a commitment by operators to collect, store and make available for retrieval a minimal set of data that is inherently secure through abstraction, separation and restricted accessibility. Operators can choose the most appropriate manner to collect data from manual entry to sophisticated automated scanners.

Once CTE data are captured and available for query, investigators will no longer need to stop at each node in the supply chain in order to learn where to go next. CTE based traceability promises to greatly accelerate the rate of trace back investigations as well as the precision and speed of recalls.


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