Label tracking and traceability is a top concern for supply chain managers in a number of industries, but it presents a particular challenge in the food industry. Consumers are understandably sensitive about food safety and more organizations strive to present solutions that would better allow companies to track their food products along the supply chain.
In a recent press release, the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) announced it would lead a pair of programs on behalf of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to determine better strategies for food label tracking and traceability.
The IFT says it would like to identify reliable solutions that can locate food products in the event of a food-related contamination outbreak, which may require extensive recalls.
One portion of the study will look at the processed food industry, while the other will evaluate label tracking and traceability possibilities for the produce sector.
Ultimately, the study aims to compare existing technologies, determine tension points in terms of costs and benefits to companies and consumers, and address broader concerns regarding food safety in the industry. The IFT says it will publish its results once the study is completed in 2012.
It's an ambitious study given the broad nature of the food industry. You've got your produce, processed foods, meats, poultry, on and on. And all those products are packaged and sold in so many ways to a variety of buyers – restaurants, major grocery store chains, small shops, etc.
When cause for public concern erupts, it can be nearly impossible to track the eventual landing spot for every single piece of food a provider sells without the right tools. So, if you're in the food industry, make it a point to ensure your supply chain management can support sophisticated label tracking and traceability. And if it can't, well, give us a call.