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Traceability has become a crucial and vital consideration within food production, responding to risks that can arise within the food industry.

Simply, traceability is adopted to ensure that products are safe to eat for consumers. Dealing with compliance is a necessary process in the food industry, and your ability to meet food regulations and provide data as effortlessly as possible enhances your competitive advantage.

Field to fork

Food traceability allows food production processes to be tracked from ‘field to fork’. When a risk is identified it is critical that all stages of the process can be traced, including the retailers, manufacturers, suppliers and even their suppliers internationally. Traceability should cover these aspects; raw materials, additives, other ingredients and the packaging, all of which will come from a long supply chain of suppliers.

Compliance

The HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) now have greater expectations over food safety, meaning that automated and efficient traceability of all stages of the production process is vital.

Food production traceability allows product recall to be implemented quickly and at a local scale, rather than a national outburst. Risk is also mitigated, whilst minimising the disruption to trade and the potential of any health risks that may be associated with the food production process.

Businesses encounter 4 key stages in the traceability process:

  1. Preparation: enabling greater visibility of the supply chain
  2. Response: improves the response rate of all stakeholders towards an outbreak
  3. Recovery: allows industry regulators to maintain and rebuild key relationships and trust with its consumers
  4. Prevention: ability to determine what caused the issues, therefore preventing future issues

Traceability crisis

In recent years, there has been an increase in fraudulent activities in the food chain and counterfeit products.

Tesco, for example, in 2013, suffered a food production crisis that went viral. They were hit with claims that their Tesco Everyday Value Spaghetti Bolognese meals as well as 3 other products, contained as much as 60% horsemeat, a claim that was rejected by Romania for being responsible in wrongly describing horsemeat from its abattoirs as beef produce. This scandal was said to be of a fraudulent nature and mislabelling, both of which are critically important in the food industry.

Following the outbreak, Tesco reported its first fall in 19 years with post-tax profits falling almost 96% to £120 million from a year earlier. A food traceability process enabled Tesco to track back their supply chain to gain an understanding as to where the fraudulent activity had taken place, allowing the appropriate action to be taken.

Key challenges

  • Globalisation of the food chain supply
  • Industry processes that are constantly changing
  • Consumers desire for more fresh food, minimising the amounts of processed foods consumed

The right partner can provide you with the traceability solutions you need

Here at Columbus, we know that when a crisis happens, time is the biggest enemy facing an organisation.

With challenges in the food industry changing and developing, we look to assist companies within the food industry with tailored solutions, such as ERP, that will allow you to trace your production processes, from ‘field to fork’.

We know that traceability is more precise through better collaboration and tracking, meaning less waste and more profit for organisations, capturing data throughout the supply chain process.

Harnessing the power of IoT and data analytics

Columbus can help to manage risk and mitigate any potential threats, using Dynamics 365 and IoT, lowering the impact of product recalls and liability costs.

The integration of data onto one system allows for a complete and accurate representation of traceability of retailers, manufacturers and suppliers. Data that is stored in Dynamics 365 provides detailed information about the entire food production journey, whilst IoT monitors machinery and equipment used in the process.

This data provides organisations with insights that they need, enabling issues with production to be rectified and prevented, meaning less damage is done to consumer confidence and the brand value.

Here are 5 ways to improve your quality control and food safety:

  1. Successfully implement and integrate government regulations into all your facility processes
  2. Comply with environmental programmes and regulations before an event happens
  3. Take preventive action to minimise your risk in food safety issues
  4. Be proactive with track and trace
  5. Combine user-friendly quality control throughout all processes

Our industry report covers all of this in more depth, plus advice on how you can digitally transform.Discover your roadmap to digital transformation

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