Food traceability and safety is an up and coming trend. With the slow food, organic, and natural movements more consumers are wanting to know where their food is coming from. Food producers also are making food traceability a trend because each producer wants to know who they can point fingers at when a customer claims that they have become sick from a producer’s food. For most producers, traceability is just one element of any supply-management or quality/safety control system. Tracking an apple from the tree to your mouth is something that each producer needs to know. They need to know where that apple was to make sure that the apple did not go anywhere it shouldn’t have been. So, what exactly is food traceability? How does it work, and what can it accomplish with regards to safety?
What is traceability and how does it pertain to our food system? The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) defines traceability as the ability to trace the history, application, or location of that which is under consideration. For this paper, that which is under consideration will be food. The ISO uses a very broad definition for traceability which is necessary for several reasons. First, because food is a complex system and traceability has not been developed for every product. Second, because no traceability system is ever complete. Things change, the purveyor changes, the field changes, the picker changes so each company’s food traceability plan must be fluid. For instance, even a hypothetical system for tracking beef-in which consumers scan their packet of beef at the checkout counter and access the animal’s date and location of birth, lineage, vaccination records, and use of mammalian protein supplements-is incomplete.… Read the rest