Traceability has traditionally dealt mostly with in-house documentation of information relating to one’s own processes and products. Lately, however, the focus has been on chain traceability, where the goal is to eliminate or reduce information loss between the supply chain links. To achieve complete internal traceability in a processing company, all batch transformations must be recorded.
This project set out to integrate food safety and traceability by finding common features in the two systems that could benefit each other. Achieved synergetic effects were to be documented by integrating food safety and traceability in the management systems.
Systems and standards for chain traceability are now possible to put into operation in the Nordic food industry, with the consequence that a lot of previously unavailable functionality now becomes possible. Chain traceability enables food safety by providing access to data elements that are relevant for risk analysis, relevant for identification of contamination source, and necessary for targeted recall. The challenge in the near future is to integrate food safety aspects and traceability in an operational way.
Conclusions and policy implications
Guidelines for food safety oriented traceability recordings are implemented in a software solution for the pelagic industry. The QIM (Quality Index Method) has been verified by three studies of salmon from Norway to Denmark. The conclusion is that QIM is verified as a very important tool to settle quality-related discussions in a chain by objective means. This means that the management of the observed cool chain can be improved extensively.
The SSSP (Seafood Spoilage and Safety Predictor) program has been tested by three series of temperature measurements in the whole chain, from fishing vessel to retailer shop. The conclusion is that the program is very suitable to validate freshness product information provided by a traceability system, when a temperature record is available.
The ChainTrace project group has worked on a food safety oriented traceability analysis method. Several tests have been made on RFID-tags, and international workshops on data capture technology have been arranged. In addition a traceability software solution for generating data on pelagic fishing vessels has been completed.
A guideline called “Recommendations for Good Traceability Practice (GTP)” has been developed. In addition a food safety oriented preparedness test has been conducted in the Nordic countries. The conclusion is that the Nordic industry in general is not prepared for a recall (a situation where the products have to be removed from the market, e.g. the supermarket shelves). The traceability of fish products can also be improved.