Documentation and Traceability
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Documentation and Traceability Training Service

A food safety program does not end with adopting HACCP and following hygiene programs. For effective implementation of every pre-requisite program, accurate and prompt documentation of every process and procedure must follow as a record helping in compliance and traceability. These documents provide validation to our work and help increase confidence in the work done. Maintaining records allows us to put our visions into paper, bond them to our minds and construct a framework of the organization. Record-keeping in quality control programs is necessary for;

  • Laying down the basic criteria, rules and regulations to be followed in each step of procurement, processing, handling, storage and dispatch
  • Monitoring implementation of adopted programs, rules, and regulations 
  • Monitoring compliance of raw materials, in-process materials, finished products,  production and handling procedures, and taking action in case of non-conformance 
  • Recording deviations that occur during processing and handling due to fault of machineries, equipments, or human errors that may result in a non-conforming product
  • Recording accidents and mishaps that threaten the health of personnel and result in a non-conforming product
  • Monitoring personal hygiene status of personnel that affect sanitation and hygiene programs and taking action in case of violation
  • Vendor Traceability for quality assurance of incoming goods and ingredient specifications
  • Tracking of the product undergoing processing in terms of quality status, weight, and quantity
  • Product Traceability after packaging and dispatch
  • Recording outcomes of work done on a daily basis and analyzing performance efficiency
  • Official information regarding a product
  • Future reference and tracking down in case of errors, product recalls and non-compliance
  • Future reference for establishing a new system 
  • Internal and third-party audits

Documentation work should not be a matter of hassle, nor should it be flickering. It should be abiding, righteous, accurate, timely, and comprehensive. Each deviation should be addressed and corrected after a root-cause analysis to avoid reoccurrence. Documentation also helps to uncover inefficiencies that may have been overlooked, thus presenting an opportunity for betterment. Each document must be kept as evidence in a third-party certification audit.

Food Traceability

Food Traceability is the capacity of an organization or a group of organizations to follow and track the status of a food product throughout its journey, as raw material to being consumed. It traces out a map of all the stages of processing food. It is a crucial part of food safety programs that facilitates the rapid identification, location, and retraction of products that are found or suspected to be hazardous. 

In order to comply with legal requirements and third-party certification programs, food industries must be able to prove they have a working food traceability system in place. To comply with legal standards, food processing businesses are required to implement systems and methods to keep track of the respective source and destination of all incoming and outgoing products and raw materials. In addition to storing information about products and raw materials themselves (such as date of delivery, volume, batch numbers, etc.), food traceability systems must also include up-to-date contact information for every supplier and recipient. In the event that a problem is identified, such documentation serves to that ensure up-and downstream partners can be granted access to all data that is necessary to locate and withdraw the defective food products. A strong food traceability system produces benefits including profitability, productivity, legal compliance, and good public relations. 

The three components of traceability are Vendor Tracing, In-house Tracing, and Product Traceability. 

The issue of ensuring that the suppliers of raw materials and distributors also have a food safety program needs to be addressed through the development of ingredient specifications and a vendor assurance system. Any non-conformance in the raw material can be traced out to the original vendor of the material, from where necessary actions can be taken through communication with the vendor for eliminating such occurrences in the future. 

In-house traceability refers to monitoring and recording the status of a specific product, day and condition of processing, deviation during processing, issues with the products, need to reprocess or discard it, and its special requirements. Issuing the official lot number, batch number of the product, and verifying related documents up to the moment of dispatch is the final step of in-house traceability. Timely and accurate documentation promotes regulatory compliance and also ensures any issues that can be traced.

Product traceability capabilities are invaluable in the case of a product recall. When manufacturers can trace precisely which batches were distributed where they can act quickly to have the defective products pulled out from distribution and prevent further losses. The root cause of the defect can be analyzed through documents of in-house and vendor tracing. Beyond product recalls, food traceability can also help to identify food safety issues in their early stages, thus preventing their proliferation.

In the modern globalized food industry, food traceability is more significant than ever before. Inefficient food traceability can put both producers and consumers at risk, lead to a tremendous volume of food waste and exacerbate the public relations fallout associated with food recalls.

To learn more about our Documentation and Traceability Training services, contact us