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Changing landscape for food traceability

11 November 20192 min reading

Namık Kemal PARLAK Editor Consumers expect safe and nutritious foods. They also expect all participants in the supply chain to have effective practices in place that allow for the rapid identification, location, and withdrawal of food lots when problems are suspected or confirmed. The ability to monitor the past of a food product, to gather all the information about handover during the supply chain, in a precise and formalized form is a must for the public as well as for the provision of modern companies and food safety. However, ensuring that effective practices are in place across a complex and global supply chain is an on-going challenge. The increased focus on food safety and consumer awareness raise the need for the identification and adoption of business practices that will aid the ability of the trading partners in the food industry to track and trace a product throughout the supply chain.

Consumers demand that primary producers and raw material suppliers be fully integrated into the traceability system and global food companies face rising pressure to address problems across agricultural regions as consumers pay more attention to where their food comes from and how it is produced. Companies are responding in part by serving up new information online about the commodities they buy around the world. For decades, finding detailed information about supply chains was challenging. Sourcing and transactions were often considered trade secrets, and problems were largely kept out of public view. However, with modern internet-based traceability systems, information-based food preferences can be offered to consumers. Computing power, including satellite mapping, has made it easier to collate information and track conditions in farming areas. Developing cloud-based systems can, for example, document the source of wheat used by the flour producer as a raw material. Flour producers can trace back wheat in their silos. Even in the flour industry, which is one of the most difficult sectors for traceability, if these can be done now, it seems to me that the days when food safety is fully ensured is not too far away.

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