Traceability is especially crucial during food safety incidents - both to speed up the response and to reduce the scale of product recalls, which benefits both consumers and the food industry.
The report, Forging Stronger Links: Traceability and the Canadian Food Supply Chain , highlights actions that governments, industry, and others could take to strengthen traceability's role in the food supply chain:
- mandate minimum traceability requirements so that suppliers can trace their products and ingredients one step forward and one step back;
- make traceability systems universal and comprehensive;
- develop traceability systems to be compatible, so that information about food products can be communicated quickly and easily throughout the supply chain and with government authorities in the event of a safety problem;
- make premises identification mandatory for poultry and livestock producers;
- require detailed information to handle emergencies quickly;
- help to fund firm's start-up costs and encourage flexible, cost-effective systems;
- promote the benefits of participation in traceability systems to all players in the food supply chain; and
- use continuous evaluation to improve system performance.
The report is one of 20 being prepared by the Conference Board's Centre for Food in Canada. The principal goal of the Centre is to engage stakeholders from business, government, academia, associations, and communities in creating a Canadian Food Strategy — one that will meet the country's need for a coordinated, long-term strategy on healthy and safe food, consumer security, industry viability, and sustainability.