In order for food growers, distributors, and retailers to maintain a sufficient level of food quality and keep their operation running as smoothly as possible, it is important that they are able to establish transparency in the “food chain,” which refers to the distribution channels of produce and other food items. Organizations that are looking to establish transparency in their distribution channels must make sure that they also establish sufficient produce traceability, as Produce Traceability and the "Food Chain" go hand-in-hand with each other.
What Is Produce Traceability?
Produce Traceability and the “Food Chain” are connected by a principle known as “one step forward and one step back.” This concept refers to the ability to determine both where the food has been purchased and sent (the step forward) and where and how the food was grown (the step backward). Produce traceability became more prominent in 2008, when an action plan for the Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI) was created. This initiative attempts to put guidelines on produce traceability in place to make it easier for distributors to meet those standards.
Produce Traceability And The “Food Chain”
Keeping the “food chain” transparent hinges upon having sufficient traceability. When your produce is traceable, it means that you understand where it came from and where it is going. Beyond having the ability to understand distribution patterns, which is important for food businesses from an economic perspective, produce traceability also helps food manufacturers and distributors isolate goods that have diseases or other problems so that they get sent out to as few consumers as possible.
Traceability helps establish a greater level of transparency in the “food chain.” It does this by bringing to light where produce was made and where it will be sent. Often, this happens through the use of Global Trade Item Numbers, also known as GTINs. Thanks to technological advancements, GTINs can be leveraged more effectively to increase transparency within the food chain through the use of things like barcode scanners, which allow users to track food as it progresses through the food chain.
Another way that produce traceability and the “food chain” work together to promote transparency is by the meeting of government regulations on food distribution. Some of these distribution regulations include GAPs (Good Agricultural Practices) and the FSMA (Food Safety Modernization Act). These regulations place more stringent guidelines on the way that food is handled and distributed. Creating produce traceability in the “food chain” allows food handlers to make sure that every single shipment involved in the distribution process is meeting these guidelines so that no one in the process is at risk of failing to meet these government regulations.
Produce traceability is integral for all companies that are looking to either buy or sell good quality food, because it helps promote transparency by allowing anyone involved in the transaction to know almost immediately where food came from and where it is going. If you are looking to improve your produce traceability, be sure that you are using all the latest technology available so that you can make it much easier to determine the future and past travel path of your goods.