Newswise — WASHINGTON D.C. --- The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Global Food Traceability Center (GFTC) today issued a guidance document on the best practices in food traceability. This document provides a comprehensive framework for six food industry sectors—bakery, dairy, meat and poultry, processed foods, produce and seafood—and summarizes the similarities and differences among them in regards to traceability. Given the complexity of the global food system, guidance on improving traceability practices across the entire food industry is a challenge.
“Our guidance document helps fill in one of the most significant gaps that regulators face when developing new policies—‘What is the industry currently capable of doing and how much can realistically be asked of them?’” said Tejas Bhatt, Program Director of the GFTC, and one of the lead authors. “This document can facilitate more balanced, effective, science-based, and cost-conscious policies and serve as a blueprint for what is practical for the food industry to improve food safety, save money and help protect the public.”
According to the guidance document, there are various points in a supply chain at which data capture is necessary. These points are referred to as critical tracking events (CTEs), and at these points it is necessary to collect and store key data elements (KDEs). Critical tracking events include:
• Transportation events typically support external product tracing between supply-chain locations, resulting from the physical movement of product by air, truck, rail, or ship from one supply-chain location to another supply-chain location.
• Transformation events support internal product tracing within the four walls of a company. Examples include when product ingredients from one or more suppliers or sources are combined, or when a product is further processed such as by cutting, cooking, or repacking.
• Depletion events capture how product is removed from the supply chain, such as when a case of fresh produce is opened and placed in self-service bins at a retail grocery store, or a packaged product is sold at a retail grocery store, or when a case of product is used in preparing menu items at a restaurant.
IFT has been involved in and leading the discussion on traceability for almost a decade. In September 2013, IFT launched the Global Food Traceability Center, a not-for-profit collaborative, public-private partnership. The GFTC brings together key stakeholders in the agri-food system to collaborate on product tracing solutions and serves as an authoritative, scientific, and unbiased source for food traceability. It assists companies and government agencies to better understand the nature of food traceability requirements, how to use technologies to improve responsiveness and reliability in the event of food-related emergencies, and the value and commercial benefits of food traceability.
Fifty-five experts from 11 countries were involved in developing this guidance document. The document appears in the September 2014 issue of Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety. To access the full document, visit http://bit.ly/1pGr1py.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Institute of Food Technologists. Since its founding in 1939, IFT has been committed to advancing the science of food. Our non-profit scientific society—more than 18,000 members from more than 100 countries—brings together food scientists, technologists and related professionals from academia, government and industry. For more information, please visit ift.org.
About the Global Food Traceability Center
The GFTC is a public-private partnership program within IFT that was created for the express purpose of being the global resource and authoritative voice on food traceability. Its mission is to serve all parts of the food system (from farm to fork) by providing applied research, objective advice, and practical expertise about data collaboration and food product traceability for the purposes of business benefit and public good. For more information, please visit globalfoodtraceability.org