Recalls of unsafe foods have grown by 40% vs 2018 according to Law Firm RPC. This is a concerning statistic when we as consumers need to trust that the food we eat is safe and we rely on food producers to deliver on this.
While most manufacturers are fully focussed on meeting this expectation, and take every possible step to ensure that their food is not only nutritional and tastes nice, but also that their products and processes are safe and comply with relevant legislation, mistakes can still happen.
Lot traceability is a crucial element of the process needed to meet legal obligations and protect the safety of the consumer.
Within the Bakery sector, there are many challenges with managing food safety. The variety of products, ingredients and storage conditions, means that relevant processes need to be clearly understood and controlled to ensure general food safety requirements are met and shelf-life maintained.
Similarly, several bakery products have been implicated in foodborne illnesses, so maintaining strict food safety controls is critical to prevent growth of pathogens and the formation of toxins.
Even when manufacturers have the most stringent quality and hygiene standards, mistakes can happen. There could be instances where products need to be quarantined and disposed internally or even products recalled when issues have spread to the wider supply chain.
Lot traceability drivers
Consumers are becoming increasingly interested in where their food has come from and what it contains. Phrases like “Field to Fork”, “Free From” and “No Added” clearly illustrate that.
Also, the broadening sources for food ingredients means that adhering to quality standards and being able to trace ingredients all the way through the supply chain process, is becoming more critical, particularly when it comes to pinpointing any issues to control and minimise any subsequent disposal.
By using lot traceability, food manufacturers can know exactly where every lot of every ingredient came from. They can then easily validate that it meets the necessary quality specifications and therefore certify the final product.
This increased visibility into food sources enables both food manufacturers and consumers to be confident that the food they are eating was produced with the right level of care and control.
Lot support for managing natural ingredients
With the increased push for more natural ingredients, for example malt extracts or fruit preparations, or the substitution of additives like emulsifiers, thickening agents and hydrocolloids with all-natural ingredients - product properties like taste, freshness, and strength of flavour can vary.
By assigning lots based on the characteristics of ingredients, enables them to be balanced accordingly when and where they are used, to maintain a consistency from batch to batch of finished product when it comes to taste and satisfying customer expectations, in much the same way that paints, and wallpapers are lot identified to ensure they match and the end product is consistent.
In addition, natural ingredients may have shorter shelf life, so being able to identify which stock, particularly older stock, needs to be used first, ensures that waste is kept to a minimum, helping to also support any sustainability or cost goals.
Authenticity control using lots
Brand quality is key for end consumers. When supply chains are more complex, there is always the opportunity for products that are not authentic to mix with those that are, potentially compromising the end-product.
By using lot tracking and traceability, food producers are able to certify the authenticity of their products and pinpoint where ‘fake’ products may have entered the supply chain, which then enables effective measures to be taken.
Managing quality and recalls
Even when robust quality standards are in place, errors can occur, and it is the impact of these errors that needs to be tightly managed.
This could arise from a specific ingredient quality concern or an issue in the production process for a specified period or associated with a particular batch. By being able to pinpoint the product lots that are affected and the ability to track them internally or externally, the scope and the cost of any disposal or recall can be minimised, and dealt with quickly, protecting both the consumer and the brand.
How can you get started?
ColumbusFood for bakeries is an industry-specific ERP solution designed to help you keep up with changes in consumer demand or government legislation, while maintaining the quality that your customers demand. For Lot Traceability, each batch becomes a separate lot for forward and backward traceability with quality control.
Food is at the core of what we do — providing the right ingredients for a healthy ERP system.