Traceability has permeated every aspect of our lives. We have social security numbers, driver’s license numbers, and passport numbers. Our cars have VIN numbers. Our online purchases have tracking numbers, and our store bought goods have bar codes and receipts. It’s hard to imagine buying a used car without a Carfax report. In some food categories, we want to understand non-GMO, organic, gluten free, fair trade, not from concentrate, or made with real sugar. Now that consumer consciousness and technology make traceability of food both expected and possible, what steps should food producers take?
Traceability Support: IT Systems
An IT system can support traceability if it can demonstrate the following roadmap. In the first, two steps, utilize the inventory management system to identify and label containers.
Follow those three steps above in order to have a comprehensive process for traceability.
Can you maintain the environmental conditions in your facility to produce food at its highest quality level? Enable a historian data collection system to record these parameters and marry them with production runs.
Does your equipment come with sufficient instrumentation to document the different parameters you need to record? Include these equipment and instrumentation requirements in the corporate engineering standards.
Major Breakthroughs in Food Safety
There was a time when major breakthroughs in food safety and quality came in the form of GMP’s and worker training. The next major breakthrough was process automation. The current wave of breakthroughs is coming in the form of packaging innovation.
The future wave of food safety breakthroughs will come from IT systems and “smart” manufacturing plants coupled with “smart” supply chains. The customer expects traceability and the food industry is capable of delivering.
Did you miss Part 1 and Part 2? Click the link below to read the complete 3-Part Series on Food Safety…
Part 1: Food Safety. The Power of People
Part 2: Food Safety. One Standard
MATTHEW CHANG, PE
Market Sector Leader-Food, Beverage & Consumer Products
Managing Director, Solution Engineering and Project Management CO., LTD