The EU Directive 178/2002, which came into effect at the start of the year, has put in place stringent guidelines requiring that all food manufactured and sold in the EU, should be safe and fully traceable "from farm to fork" and back again.
Traceability was defined as the ability to identify a unique product, and the raw materials used in its production, and to follow the progress of that product right through the production and distribution process.
Operators in the food sector are now required to have product withdrawal systems as well as records identifying the source of their raw material and the businesses they supply.
For distributors, the demands of full and frank food traceability are straightforward. However, for manufacturers, the situation is more complicated. RFID
technology can help by recording inbound ingredients with a batch number, date and time, linking these to the supplier's delivery information. Manser, a leading Irish provider of ERP solutions has developed a system that gathers vital information through this process. If a recall is necessary, every ingredient can be traced and this is possible before the product hits the supermarket shelf. Manser's ERP-based offering is designed to provide an audit trail matching batch, lot or serial references for all inventory items, from the supplier through to the customer. In the case of manually recorded transactions, this traceability is supported right up to full bar coding, electronic transmission and, now, RFID.
For more information, read our new report on Food Traceability here