Food traceability has been defined as “the ability to track and trace any food through all stages of production, processing and distribution” (including importation and at retail). Though food traceability supports numerous use cases (e.g., supply chain optimization, sustainability efforts, and product differentiation), food safety remains one of the most critical applications. Food traceability enables corrective actions (such as a product recall) to be implemented quickly and effectively when something goes wrong. When a potential food safety problem is identified, an effective traceability system can help isolate and prevent contaminated products from reaching consumers. Food traceability not only facilitates consumer awareness of potentially harmful products but can also be used to provide desirable information about provenance.
The technology and enabling architecture of food traceability is rapidly advancing in response to demand from consumers, food producers, distributors and retailers, and food safety regulators. There have been several technological and regulatory developments that make clear that credible, functional, and impactful food traceability is likely to become a reality in the United States.
Food traceability has become an important focus in both industry and government. The incidence of food borne transmission of pathogens resulting in acute and long-term adverse health impacts remains stubbornly above acceptable levels.
This publication is a joint effort between CAST (Council for Agricultural Science and Technology) and IFT (Institute of Food Technologists).
Chair: Bob Gravani, Cornell University and Bryan Hitchcock, Institute of Food Technologists (IFT)
IP71, 2023, Available free online and in print (fee for shipping/handling).
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