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27/11/2017 – Special Report / Food Chain Traceability / ISO

Going back to your roots

All F&B players of integrity are keen to demonstrate their commitment to food quality and safety, and to assure the reliability of their suppliers. A food chain traceability standard can prove a vital tool in this endeavour, says DNV GL. As ISO 22005 celebrates a decade in existence, the classification society illustrates how the standard can help a company to document a product’s history – in turn, creating the trust and confidence that consumers increasingly seek from their purchases.


In its ability to document the history or identify the location of a product, or the relevant components – either inside an individual company or in a co-ordinated food chain system – a traceability standard is increasingly the order of the day.  It can help a company provide internal logistical and quality related information, which can improve efficiency – for example, in terms of appropriate stock rotation.  Upstream in the chain, it can provide credibility to a product with undetectable quality attributes.


A safe food product is the result of all the processes and handling activities carried out throughout the entire food chain.  A proper traceability system can help create a feedback loop to improve product quality, conditions and delivery, optimising related costs.  It also helps provide transparency in distribution routes and improve supply chain efficiency and trading partner collaboration.


Furthermore, requirements for product identification, which are applicable in the case of non-GMO (genetically modified organisms) products, organic products, or certification of product origin, demand a secure product identification system and reliable retrieval of related product information.  Last but not least, in the case of an incident, an efficient, fast, and precise withdrawal or recall system is an absolute must.  


Setting the standard 


Traceability is a key item both in food legislation (such as EU Reg.  178/2002) and in adhering to food safety standards (e.g., ISO 22000 and HACCP).


The International Organization for Stan-dardization (ISO) provides the technical standard to enable a harmonised approach to traceability systems in accordance with the available best practices.  The standard for traceability in the feed and food chain – ISO 22005 – provides general principles and basic requirements for system design and implementation.


Good for business


Food chain traceability certification makes individual company processes more visible and reliable, allowing a firm to communicate a message of trust and accountability.  The standards provide a framework to establish an effective and flexible traceability system to meet different objectives, such as:  supporting food safety or quality objectives; documenting the history or origin of the product; facilitating withdrawal and/or recall of products; identifying responsible parties in the feed and food chain; facilitating verification of specific information about the product; and communicating information to relevant stakeholders and consumers.  


Preparing for certification


Traceability is a tool that should be co-ordinated within the context of broader management system.  To design and implement an effective traceability system, the company must first define the traceability system objective(s), and then determine which information is to be:  obtained from suppliers (and/or from the individual players in the co-ordinated food chain); collected concerning the process history (in your own company and/or from the other individual players in the co-ordinated food chain); and provided to your customers (and/or to the individual players in the co-ordinated food chain).


The main planning process includes: defining the product and/or the relevant ingredient(s); defining the lot; identifying the lot; documenting the flow of materials (including the media for documentation); managing the data; and retrieving the information for communication.  


This process entails managing detailed tracking and tracing reports on the flow of the raw material, the accountability of all parties involved in the process, and proof of application of a management system regime. 


DNV GL is a world-leading certification body.  Within the food and beverage industry it helps customers worldwide to achieve excellence in food safety and quality, environmental management, supply chain management and product sustainability.  DNV GL’s professionals operate in more than 100 countries today, helping customers make the world safer, smarter and greener.

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