Traceability program adds value to food supply chains
A new national traceability program could strengthen Australia’s food safety systems by tracking and tracing food products from farm to fork in domestic and export markets. The industry-led program, co-designed by Deakin University’s Centre for Supply Chain and Logistics (CSCL), includes an Implementing Food Traceability Guide, product-specific guides and industry demonstrations to enable greater visibility along the entire food supply chain.
Dr Hermione Parsons, Industry Professor and Director of CSCL, believes the program will help supply chains achieve end-to-end traceability and lift capability across the sector from small producers and manufacturers to large-scale enterprises.
“This package is about building national consistency and integrity into Australia’s food traceability systems. It will ensure industry can better respond to product recalls and will give consumers greater certainty about the source of the products they buy,” Dr Parsons said.
The framework was co-designed in the CSCL Food Traceability Lab, and enables stakeholders across the agrifood supply chain to share relevant product and event data with others along the chain, while providing product visibility.
“Food suppliers will be able to trace back and authenticate genuine product as supplied, and enable regulators to confirm that correct information relating to a product has been entered into border clearance and compliance processes and platforms,” Dr Parsons said.
Addressing customer queries, verifying product claims, processing product recalls and maintaining product integrity with speed and accuracy is vital for food enterprises, alongside knowing what information to collect and what to share while protecting multiple commercial interests.
“When food products pass through the supply chain — whether animal, plant, grain or grocery item — we need to know where the product has been, when and how it was handled and who was involved,” said Ram Akella, from Food Co metro and Product Traceability at Woolworths.
The first industry funders of the National Food Traceability Program include Lab members — the MLA’s Integrity Systems Company and the Woolworths Group. GS1 Australia will apply the global data standard and support solution providers.
“By building full product traceability in parallel with regulatory compliance, we will further enhance Brand Australia in both domestic and global markets. Using a standard framework and data model means any technology platform or solution can apply a consistent format and the data can be shared with other partners in the supply chain,” Akella said.
Dr Parsons said the first generic traceability modules relate to On-farm Production and Exporting, and encouraged organisations involved in these activities to have input to these modules commencing in July.
For further information, please contact the Program Manager, Rose Elphick-Darling.
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