Backwards and forwards
Traceability is the ability to track food through all stages of production, processing and distribution. Traceability looks both forwards and backwards. It looks back to the raw material used to make a given product. It looks forwards to what products a given batch of raw material went into. A fully traceable process knows where its raw material came from and what it is passing to the next downstream operation.
An end-to-end tracking and tracing system can also give details of quality control checks and can help with audits. It can police ethical claims and the correct composition of ingredients in a given process, thereby protecting brand integrity.
The time window covered by a tracking and tracing system can vary. It can cover a whole day’s production or split the day into shifts. In a similar way, incoming materials can be traceable by supplier, farm or by individual flock from that farm. If there is a recall, the more granular the ability to track and trace, the better. There is a huge difference in cost between having to recall an entire day’s production and a much more limited period. Highly granular systems are, however, more difficult to manage.
Follow each flock
Using Innova Food Processing Software, Marel can offer poultry processors full traceability from live bird hang-on to dispatch of the final product. The software covers all in-line processes from hang-on of the live bird to its release as a whole product or cut portion. It then follows all downstream processes to the loading dock.
Activation of the flock switch at live bird hang-on determines the beginning of a new flock. Where line-to-line transfers are automatic using the latest LineLink technology, this information will track automatically through all in-line processes from kill to cut-up. Keeping processes in-line as much as possible makes traceability easy. Where carcasses are immersion chilled off-line, however, count can serve to track the end of one flock and the beginning of the next.