Taken at face value, the only information Article 18 requires food businesses to provide is the name of the businesses who supply them and to whom they supply their products. However, as a minimum, traceability records should include the address of the supplier or customer, nature and quality of products and date of the transaction and delivery. It is also helpful to record the batch number or durability information (shelf life information).
Typically for the supplier (the one step back) this includes:
- Accurate records of what the product is, the quantity, who supplied it and the date it was received,
- The name and address of the supplier the product, and
- The lot, batch or consignment reference where applicable.
For the customer (one step forward) this includes:
- Accurate records of what product was supplied, to whom product was supplied to (the name and address of the customer which is being supplied), and any lot, batch or consignment reference that is applied, and the date of dispatch.
This requirement does not mean that businesses need a dedicated traceability system. The traceability system applied will depend on the nature and size of the business. It is likely that the provision of this type of information is standard practice in basic accounting and business management systems. It is the need to produce information that is important, not the format in which it is kept. As a minimum the food business should have their records sufficiently organised and available to produce within the short time scale needed for them to be of use in any food withdrawal or recall.