Why traceability is vital for food producers

A powerful traceability system helps you protect consumers and your reputation

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In today’s complex global supply chain, tracing food products effectively is more crucial than ever—and more challenging. Fortunately, with a good understanding of the challenges and available solutions, food producers can achieve superb traceability for their business.

In this article, we provide a useful overview of what food traceability means for processing companies. Why it matters, what a traceability system should include, and how you can implement an efficient, reliable traceability system to minimize food contamination risks. Let’s get started.

What is food traceability?

Traceability is a term you hear a lot in the food industry, but what does it mean in practice? Put simply, it’s the ability to track and trace food and other agricultural products through every stage of the supply chain.

For food producers, this means that you need to have a reliable process in place to record the origin of all ingredients and the destination of all products. You must be able to trace any product’s movements one step backward and one step forward at any point in your process so that you always know precisely:

  • What you received, what you did to it, and what you delivered
  • Which raw materials you used to produce the final products
  • Which final products you produced from the raw materials
  • What went wrong, should a problem arise

Time is also key. The faster you can trace an issue, the faster you can fix it. To achieve this level of speed and precision, you need a software solution that can perform all of these functions in an instant.


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Why is traceability important for food producers?

Traceability is essential to establish trust in the quality, safety, and provenance of your products. It’s a tool you use to ensure that your production is following safety and quality processes successfully.

Having a reliable traceability system helps you greatly minimize food contamination risks, maintain a good reputation, ensure compliance with regulations, and manage your inventory effectively.

Let’s take a closer look.

Ensuring consumer safety

As a food producer, your greatest responsibility is to guarantee that your products are clean and safe to consume. This is no simple task—the journey from farm to fork is long and complicated, with potential for physical, biological, and chemical food contamination at almost every step.

For consumers, lapses in food quality and safety can mean anything from a foul-tasting chicken nugget, to serious hazards such as choking and food-borne illnesses.

Traceability is vital to prevent or greatly minimize the impact of contamination. Using an advanced solution such as Innova Food Processing Software allows you to identify issues quickly, so you can take swift and decisive action to protect consumers.

Protecting and enhancing company reputation

Traceability is pivotal to protecting your brand. Consumer complaints and product recalls can harm or even destroy your business’s good reputation. This is especially true in the social media age, where bad publicity can spread even faster than a food-borne illness.

Fortunately, having the right traceability software offers great protection against expensive and embarrassing product recalls. With real-time data and alerts, you are dramatically more likely to catch issues early so they don’t develop into large-scale problems.

Traceability also offers opportunities to build consumer trust through transparency. Consumers want to know where their food comes from, how it’s made, and whether it’s sourced ethically. Traceability software makes it easy to include detailed information on your packaging, so you can highlight your product’s high quality.

Complying with food standards and regulations

Working in the food industry means you must navigate and comply with a complex web of food safety regulations. Agencies such as the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) in the US and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in the EU require that food production companies provide detailed information on every step of their supply chain.

Complicating matters further, in a global market you need to comply not only with local laws but also with the laws of all other states and countries in your supply chain. The good news is that sophisticated software like Innova can greatly simplify this process.


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Managing your inventory effectively

Finally, traceability is crucial to managing your ingredients, time, and storage space as efficiently as possible. When dealing with perishable products, you need to know exactly where every item in your inventory came from, where it is now, how many you have, and every expiration date.

Having this information at your fingertips means you can utilize the right ingredients and sell the right products at the right time. This helps you avoid food spoilage that can lead to wastage, or even worse, contamination. By tracking your resources effectively, you maximize your efficiency, sustainability, and profits.


Marel Innova Food Processing Software

What to look for in a food traceability system?

Investing in food traceability software can have enormous benefits for your business, but it’s important that you choose wisely. So, what features should you look for?

To start with, your software has to be able to collect and store all the necessary documentation, for example:

  • Contact information for all your suppliers, customers, and third-party sellers
  • Dates of transactions and deliveries
  • Batch or lot identification
  • Information on products’ origins, quantities, expiry dates, etc
  • Various other relevant details

However, it’s not enough to simply store data. Your food traceability system should also provide real-time data-based insights and alerts in a clear, user-friendly interface, so that you can predict, detect, and address issues as quickly as they come up.

Innova Food Processing Software offers all of this—and more

Innova Traceability reliably collects, stores, and analyzes data in real time, giving you everything you need to secure full traceability throughout your production. From source to shelf, you have the power to trace all registered items one level back and one level forward based on POs (purchase orders) and lots. The software uses data collection points to link all elements together into one traceability chain. This is key to verifying the safety and quality of your products for your customers.

For companies that need powerful inventory management tools, Innova Inventory enables managers to easily monitor and control all inventories in a single system. It provides a real-time overview of inventory status, optimizes put-away and picking processes to secure correct inventory rotation, and helps reduce wastage due to expired products and other inefficiencies. This valuable information enables you to optimize product utilization, with direct benefits for sustainability, food quality and safety, and your profit margins.

Do you want to learn more about Innova solutions? Our team of experts is always close by and ready to help, with no pressure to commit.

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