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Episode 1: The Importance of a Traceability Program

Episode 1: The Importance of a Traceability Program

In our third video series, the Kellerman Consulting team discusses the important topic of traceability in food businesses. Throughout the six-video series, we cover topics such as what traceability information to collect during the supplier approval process, managing the traceability of WIP and rework materials, and the differences between traceability exercises and mock recalls. In the first video of the series, we begin by defining backward vs. forward traceability and discussing the importance of a traceability program.

Traceability is the ability to follow, or trace, a finished product or its ingredients throughout all steps in the supply chain. Backward traceability involves tracing a shipment of finished products back to the individual component ingredients or materials, as well as the tracing of a raw material or ingredient back to its last stakeholder in the supply chain. Tests of backward traceability evaluate a site’s batch recordkeeping, finished product rotation, and shipping program.

Forward traceability involves tracing a raw material or ingredient from the point of receipt forward through the system and linking to finished products, as well as the tracing of finished products to the next receiver or customer. Tests of forward traceability evaluate a site’s receiving program, stock rotation, and manufacturing recordkeeping.

In addition to being a regulatory requirement for food businesses, having a fully functional traceability program is essential in the event of a product safety or quality incident. In such events, removing the product from the marketplace as quickly as possible is crucial. Having a strong traceability system allows companies to react quickly when those undesirable events occur, thereby reducing instances of foodborne illness or customer dissatisfaction with poor quality products.

In our next video in the Traceability series, we discuss what traceability information to collect during the supplier approval process.

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