Traceability – it’s not just a good idea, it’s about to become the law

Traceability – it’s not just a good idea, it’s about to become the law

What's the best thing your company can do in a product recall situation?

Savvy companies already know that in an increasingly globalized ingredient supply chain, traceability measures are the best bulwark against an expensive recall. Sometime in early 2014, the FDA is expected to release its rule around expectations codifying traceability efforts, as part of the Food Safety Modernization Act.

“It’s exactly common sense,” said Tejas Bhatt, Manager of Food Safety Programs at Institute of Food Technologists. “Right now companies tend to fall into two camps – one is proactive and already putting in place adequate paperwork efforts to ensure safety and traceability. The other camp is waiting to see what FDA does so they don’t have to possibly change their procedures twice.”

For more on how FSMA is changing the game on ingredient imports, go here.

Traceability is the cousin of transparency. The goal is to follow the movement of ingredients from farm to fork.

The best reason for it is to quickly identify suspect ingredients and products in the event of a food recall effort. Incomplete records mean a longer period of time to identify suspect products – lives could be at stake – and could also result in a recall net taking off the market products that are not culpable. That would mean not just a loss of revenue, but could mean a loss of the entire company.

Good record-keeping helps you better understand your supply chain and distribution system.

“Traceability is about protecting public health,” said Bhatt. “It’s in everyone’s best interest to see how we can make this process more streamlined and effective.”

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