Recommended Guidelines For Food Product Tracing

The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) delivered to the Food & Drug Administration a new technical study that recommends guidelines to establish a comprehensive product tracing system to track the movement of food effectively from farm to point of sale or service. FDA’s Center for Food Safety & Applied Nutrition commissioned IFT, a nonprofit scientific society focusing on the science of food, to conduct a study on traceability in the food system.

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The study’s authors included experts from academia, the industry, and the government, who collected information from 58 food companies involved in produce, packaged consumer goods, processed ingredients, distribution, foodservice, retail, and animal feed. The analysis included a review of product tracing methods, practices in non-food industries, and standards and regulations pertaining to traceability worldwide. IFT experts also proposed changes in current systems and practices to help track the movement of food products from farm to table to ultimately protect public health. The recommendations include: – Creation of a standard list of key data or information to be collected.

  • Standardization of formats for expressing the information.
  • Identification of the points along the supply chain, internal and between partners, where information needs to be captured.
  • Comprehensive record keeping that allows the linking of information both internally and with partners.
  • Key data elements provide for the flow of ingredients and movement of finished products.
  • Use of electronic systems for data transfer.
  • Provide data in electronic format for each point within 24 hours of an FDA request.
  • IFT also recommends that all operations maintain data electronically.
  • Inclusion of traceability as a requirement within audits.
  • Required training and education on what compliance entails.
  • The system should be simple, user friendly, and globally accepted, as well as have the ability to leverage existing industry systems.

Leave a Reply

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

This is even more rediculous than the Proposed USDA Leafy Greens marketing agreement. Small farmers would suffer to the point of extinction.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

It is really not that difficult and most growers are doing it anyway (or at least collecting the information). The recommendations and current practice need to be bundled into a palatable format and then proper staff management needs to occur. Commitment will be the hardest part, not execution.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

It seems to be another method of the “bigs”
to develop a system that can force the
‘smalls’ out of business to have it all for
themselves and the illegal workers they hire.
So much for the american dream for the
small farmer anymore.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

This has to be done it has to be traceable. NO this is not targeted at the small guys . Coding scaners only run about 875.00 if you cant afford that your not going any where any way.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

I am a seed collector by trade for a seed catalog.
Most of my produce that is not used to collect seeds is donated to the elderly who can’t afford organic grown food.If this is put in place I won’t be able to donate food but will have to sell it to pay the added expense

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

In reply to Bob. $875.00?!?!?! That is a lot of money for me! I have other farm equipment that I need to buy to allow me to transition into a more efficient farm. You make it sound like a person can just go out and get all the modern equipment necessary to begin farming. I can’t even afford to hire anyone and I WON’T hire illegals not matter how cheap they are. And as for the management to track the produce, well that person is out working in the field as well. I am sorry that Bob seems to think us small, correction, micro farmers are not going anywhere. We will have the ability to grow like other farmers if our hands aren’t preoccupied with keeping up with state and federal regulations.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

Would pick tickets and an electronic spreadsheet qualify? Smaller producers may only have to track up to 500 boxes…

Over 500 boxes and you could probably afford a simple scanning system, right?

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

The IFT’s recommendations are just that. Right now, the Bioterrorism Act of 2002 already (& simply requires) conducting traceability one step forward, one step backward. There is no requirement for fancy equipment. I suspect this will continue to remain the case. Although the Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI) suggests all kinds of fancy bar codes, scanning systems, etc. the simple fact is that most growers will be able to meet any of these suggestions with the a paper trail–you just gotta know where it came from and where it went. I also suspect there will be exemption for small growers, farmers markets, CSAs, and food banks. Our government can’t quite handle the problems they have right now, I’m sure they won’t have the ability or desire to drill down too far into our food supply. They just want a more secure food supply.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

This is even more rediculous than the Proposed USDA Leafy Greens marketing agreement. Small farmers would suffer to the point of extinction.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

It is really not that difficult and most growers are doing it anyway (or at least collecting the information). The recommendations and current practice need to be bundled into a palatable format and then proper staff management needs to occur. Commitment will be the hardest part, not execution.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

It seems to be another method of the “bigs”
to develop a system that can force the
‘smalls’ out of business to have it all for
themselves and the illegal workers they hire.
So much for the american dream for the
small farmer anymore.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

This has to be done it has to be traceable. NO this is not targeted at the small guys . Coding scaners only run about 875.00 if you cant afford that your not going any where any way.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

I am a seed collector by trade for a seed catalog.
Most of my produce that is not used to collect seeds is donated to the elderly who can’t afford organic grown food.If this is put in place I won’t be able to donate food but will have to sell it to pay the added expense

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

In reply to Bob. $875.00?!?!?! That is a lot of money for me! I have other farm equipment that I need to buy to allow me to transition into a more efficient farm. You make it sound like a person can just go out and get all the modern equipment necessary to begin farming. I can’t even afford to hire anyone and I WON’T hire illegals not matter how cheap they are. And as for the management to track the produce, well that person is out working in the field as well. I am sorry that Bob seems to think us small, correction, micro farmers are not going anywhere. We will have the ability to grow like other farmers if our hands aren’t preoccupied with keeping up with state and federal regulations.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

Would pick tickets and an electronic spreadsheet qualify? Smaller producers may only have to track up to 500 boxes…

Over 500 boxes and you could probably afford a simple scanning system, right?

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

The IFT’s recommendations are just that. Right now, the Bioterrorism Act of 2002 already (& simply requires) conducting traceability one step forward, one step backward. There is no requirement for fancy equipment. I suspect this will continue to remain the case. Although the Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI) suggests all kinds of fancy bar codes, scanning systems, etc. the simple fact is that most growers will be able to meet any of these suggestions with the a paper trail–you just gotta know where it came from and where it went. I also suspect there will be exemption for small growers, farmers markets, CSAs, and food banks. Our government can’t quite handle the problems they have right now, I’m sure they won’t have the ability or desire to drill down too far into our food supply. They just want a more secure food supply.