Guarike Traceability

What is Traceability?

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Traceability is the ability to trace all processes from procurement of raw materials to production, distribution, consumption, and disposal. In other words, it’s knowing where the product comes from, when it was produced, and by whom. In recent years there has been a rise in safety awareness in agriculture for food security. Traceability has been spreading into a wide range of fields such as agriculture is not the exception. This article describes the basics of traceability and its importance in agriculture.

Basic Concepts

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) define traceability (ISO 9000) as:

Traceability is the ability to trace the history, application, use and location of an item or its characteristics through recorded identification data.

Traceability is the ability to trace the history, application, use and location of an item or its characteristics through recorded identification data.

The two most important requirements to meet this definition are:

  1. Clearly specify the Identification Unit of an object (raw material, parts, product or process)
  2. Once identified you need to record the necessary information to allow the trace of the object back and forward.

Two Types of Traceability

Traceability can be divided into two perspectives:

Traceability can have two perspectives:

  1. Internal Traceability: the movement of products within a single process that can be monitored.
  2. Chain or External Traceability: the movement of products in multiple processes that can be monitored.

Internal Traceability

Internal traceability is the monitoring of movement of products, materials or parts within a specific area in the whole food supply chain such as farms or manufacturing plants.

For example, a farm procures fertilizers such as phosphorous fertilizers and soil amendments from suppliers and uses them in their production. Also included in internal traceability are:

  • Production Processes
  • Manufacturing Processes
  • Inspection

Change Or External Traceability

External or chain traceability means farmers, manufacturers, distributors, supermarkets and consumers can trace back and forth the history of procurement of raw materials, productions, lots, batches, products, distribution and sales. Farmers and manufacturers can trace to where their products have been delivered (trace forward) while companies, supermarkets and consumers can trace from where the product they have at hand came from (trace back).

This provides farmers, manufacturers, government officials and other parts of the chain with an easier  insight towards finding the cause for investigation and product recall when unexpected problems occur with their products. Adequate traceability significantly reduces the response time to remove potentially harmful items in the supply chain. Consumers can also benefit from chain traceability and use it to select a reliable product without the worry of contracting an infection or disease.

Why is traceability important?

If a product quality problem occurs, the farmer or manufacturer must take action and perform effective measures immediately.

A slow response time from the farmer or manufacturer can create a sense of mistrust with consumers or business partners, which may endanger the existence of the company. Furthermore, laws to enhance food safety like the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) have been implemented which require traceability in order to act and recall products due to problems.

Traceability has long been promoted in the agriculture industry. It is widely used to prevent recall problems and minimize damages. It is, however, difficult to verify data from farms and manufacturers. Through Guariké, food producers and their manufacturing facilities can obtain a historical archive management system that can cover both internal and chain/external traceability.

For details and more information on how Guariké can assist you contact us via email at: [email protected]





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Author: Jose Rivera-Serrano

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