Food Traceability Software | Requirements Outline

Mark Canes

The Food & Beverage industry is somewhat unique. Unlike durable goods, food wholesale and distribution attracts much public and official scrutiny because of the potential danger these products can pose to the public. Whether it is the FDA or CFIA, a close watch is being kept on food industry activities. For these reasons, as well as for ethical considerations, food traceability software is crucial to the success of a food wholesaler or distributor.

This article outlines key traceability requirements for the food industry, and some of the functionality you should expect from food traceability software.

Lot Tracking (Traceability)

Lot tracking (or batch tracking) is one of the most important aspects of a software system for a food wholesaler or distributor. In order to comply with the FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act or the CFIA’s Safe Food for Canadians Act, proper lot tracking must be maintained. This is not discretionary; all wholesalers and distributors, and for that matter manufacturers, are required to be able to trace the path from supplier to customer. For many businesses, this tracking is a manual exercise, which can be cumbersome and costly in the long run.

The FDA and CFIA strongly encourage the use of software to automate this process, and to facilitate faster and more accurate recalls. In fact, there are funds/grants available to encourage this type of investment, such as:

  • Traceability Foundations Initiative
  • Canadian Industry Traceability Infrastructure Program

 With improper or non-automatic lot tracking, you may be required to recall all product produced after a certain period of time. This can be excessively costly if only a portion of the product has been deemed unsafe. However, without proper lot tracking software, this may be the only way to ensure fast and accurate recalls.

 To simplify the recall process, look for food traceability software that includes the following:

  • Internal and external lot number tracking
  • Pre-assignment of lots to facilitate FIFO methodology
  • Manage best before and expiry dates

For more information on this important subject, please download the Lot Tracking and Traceability white paper.