Traceability and private voluntary standards

Traceability and private voluntary standards

Horse Feed

In a food business operation traceability may be managed as part of a food safety management system, for example the private voluntary standards set by trade bodies, retailers and other organisations in the food and feed supply chain. Most, if not all, have provisions in relation to product identity and/or traceability in one form or another. These standards are good practice standards and are not legally enforceable. Some examples of Private Voluntary Standards are as follows – these are here as examples only and this course does not necessarily recommend the adoption of them over the many others available.

British Retail Consortium

In the food sector, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) Global Standard for Food, for example, requires that the company shall be able to trace all raw material production lots from their supplier through all stages of processing and despatch to their customer and visa versa.

International Featured Standards

Similarly the Germany based International Featured Standards (IFS) standard for auditing quality and food safety of food products requires that a traceability system shall be in place which enables the identification of product lots and their relation to batches of raw materials. The traceability system shall incorporate all relevant receiving, processing and distribution records. Traceability shall be ensured and documented until delivery to the customer.

Global Food Safety Initiative

On an international basis, the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) benchmarks food standards against food safety criteria including the BRC and IFS standards. In respect of traceability the GFSI guidance states that the standard shall ensure:

  • identification of outsourced product, ingredient or service;
  • complete records of batches in process or final product and packaging throughout the production process; and
  • record of purchaser and delivery destination for all products supplied.

Agricultural Industries Confederation

In the feed sector the Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) Feed Materials Assurance Scheme requires that participants must be able to demonstrate traceability for the raw materials utilised to produce feed materials, and to demonstrate traceability for all feed ingredients supplied. The latter requires the ability to produce a traceability trail for each consignment of feed ingredients showing the period in which they were produced and the consignment(s) of raw materials form which they were produced.

Importance of private voluntary standards

The relevance of these private voluntary standards is they specify good practice as identified by the relevant sector of industry. They help businesses that adopt the specified standard meet legal requirements (the one down/one up approach) and the expectations of the supply chain for internal traceability. That is to follow the movement of food and feed products through a specified stage the supply chain from receipt of supplied materials through processing to distribution of the product.