Statista studies show the leading cause of food recalls in 2019 in the United States was the presence of undeclared allergens (almonds, peanuts, soy, etc). This is concerning information for us as consumers who need to trust that the food we eat is safe—trust that we place on food producers to deliver on.
Most manufacturers are fully focused on upholding this trust. They take every possible step to ensure their food is tasty and nutritious, and their products and processes are safe and comply with relevant legislation. Despite all of this, mistakes can still happen.
Lot traceability and the bakery sector
The bakery sector faces several challenges with managing food safety; especially in terms of meeting regulatory compliance. The sheer variety of products, ingredients and storage conditions means relevant processes need clear understanding and control to meet general food safety requirements and maintain shelf life.
Several bakery products have, in the past, been implicated in foodborne illnesses. Reason why maintaining strict food safety controls is critical to prevent pathogen growth and toxin formation.
Despite manufacturers putting the most stringent quality and hygiene standards in place, there have been instances of products being quarantined, disposed internally and even recalled when issues have spread to the wider supply chain.
These are scenarios where Lot Traceability—a crucial element of the process needed to meet legal obligations and protect the safety of the consumer—comes into play.
Lot traceability drivers
Consumers are taking an increasing interest in where their food is coming from and what it contains. Phrases like ‘Field to Fork,’ ‘Free From’ and ‘No Added’ illustrate this interest.
The broadening spectrum of food ingredient sources means adhering to quality standards and tracing ingredients all the way through the supply chain process is becoming more critical—particularly when it comes to pinpointing issues to control and minimize any subsequent disposal.
Through 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 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.
Assigning lots based on the characteristics of ingredients enables them to be balanced as and when (and where) they are used. Consistency in taste is maintained from batch to batch of finished product(s), helping satisfy customer expectations. An analogy here is how paint and wallpaper lots are identified to ensure they match and the end product is consistent.
Natural ingredients often have shorter shelf life. Being able to identify which stock, particularly older stock, needs to be used first ensures waste is kept to a minimum, helping support sustainability and/or cost goals.
Authenticity control using lots
Brand quality is key for end consumers. When supply chains are complex, there is always a chance that unauthentic products will get mixed with authentic ones, potentially compromising the end product.
Lot tracking and traceability helps food producers certify the authenticity of their products and pinpoint where ‘fake’ products may have entered the supply chain. This information enables effective corrective measures to be taken.
Managing quality and recalls
As previously mentioned, errors can occur despite the best of efforts towards maintaining stringent quality standards. Such errors can arise from a particular ingredient’s compromised quality or an issue in the production process for a specific period. Errors can be associated with an entire batch. Being able to pinpoint the affected product lots and track them internally or externally can minimize the scope and cost of any disposal or recall. Tricky situations like these can be 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 pace with the dynamic changes in consumer demand or government legislation, while maintaining the quality that your consumers demand. In terms of lot traceability, ColumbusFood for Bakeries treats each batch like a separate lot for forward and backward traceability with fool proof quality control.
Food is at the core of what we do—providing the right ingredients for a healthy ERP system.