Guest Column: Food Product Traceability: New Challenges, New SolutionsSource: Quest Solution
By David Miller, President, Operations Technologies
Product traceability has always been a contentious issue in the food and beverage industry, often pitting manufacturers, packagers, and distributors against retailers, customers, and government agencies. However, recent supply chain wide "meltdowns" have all sides of the issue beginning to agree on the need for better controls. No less important than the need for traceability is the availability of costeffective and practical solutions. Fortunately, new technologies and techniques are changing traceability from a profit-wrecking expense to an acceptable cost of doing business and, in some cases, even positively affecting the bottom line.
The new focus on traceability has had less to do with new regulations and governmental sanctions than plain old free market pressures. Adam Smith, an 18th century philosopher and author of "The Wealth of Nations," would be proud.
To be sure, there is no shortage of governmental traceability edicts. Relatively weak public safety laws existed in the United States prior to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks; much more substantial security-related statutes were added post 9/11. But to be blunt, rules such as FDA Bioterrorism Rule 306 (FDA, 2004) have been obeyed about as often as the speed limit on an old country road at 2 a.m. The laws are there, but the enforcement staff is non-existent, and further limitations of enforcement agents to "post-event" inspections (particularly in the U.S.) have pretty well reduced these laws from preemptive safeguards to "after the fact" responses.
As seen in foodtechnology Magazine, January 2009