Nearly 200 copies of a new traceability guideline for the dairy, deli, and bakery industry have been downloaded in the three weeks since it was first issued, according to representatives of GS1, the national standard-setting partner that worked with industry to develop the guideline.
The guide was developed jointly by GS1 US, the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association, and the International Dairy Foods Association. It applies to all types of dairy, deli and bakery products, and includes detailed instructions on product identification, use of batch/lots numbers, barcodes, and other traceability standards. A step-by-step recall guide is also included.
“The essence of the guide is the concept of ‘identify, capture, share,’ which allows companies to link the physical flow of products with the flow of information about them,” says Angela Fernandez, vice president, grocery retail and consumer packaged goods at GS1 US. “When internal and external processes are aligned, each trading partner should be able to identify the direct source and direct recipient of traceable items. This enables visibility of product movement throughout the entire supply chain and allows trading partners to collect, record, store, and share information for product traceability.”
Fernandez noted that the dairy, deli, and bakery sectors had been aware of other fresh food traceability guidelines being developed and saw an opportunity to leverage these projects for their own processes. Final passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act “simply elevated the priority of the project,” she says.
Michael Bromme, senior vice president of Trace One, a GS1 partner, praises the guideline as comprehensive, thorough, and specific. “Guidelines calling both for shared product data to increase consumer confidence, as well as for better communication between all ecosystem stakeholders, will inherently improve supply chain visibility, productivity, and food safety,” he says. “Retailers and manufacturers need to guarantee full transparency and collaboration of their supply lines to prevent any food contamination crises.”
Future iterations of the guidelines could enhance the process, he suggests, “…with full visibility on the supply chain, anticipation of product data changes—such as recipe, raw material, and packaging—continuous sharing of raw material origin, and end-to-end collaboration.”