LOOK AT YOUR SOURCES
Implementation of traceability is obligatory for all operators in the food chain in the European Union from 1st January 2005…
- this means a business must be able to identify all of its food, food products and feed suppliers and all the businesses to which they have supplied food or feed to. The information needs to be systematically stored, and to be made available to inspection authorities upon request. A proposal to introduce a similar system was adopted in the USA (Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Act of 2002);
- traceability systems are or will be obligatory for all businesses in the food chain in the European Union (EU), the USA and Japan. Traceability systems cover all types of food and related products in the entire food chain and affect food businesses from farm suppliers to retailers. Feedstuffs and other farm supplies needed to produce food, are included, as well as food contact materials such as packaging;
- in the United States a similar requirement regarding the establishment of records to identify the immediate previous sources and immediate subsequent recipients of food, including its packaging, was laid down in the Bioterrorism Act (section 306) and will come into effect in three stages. The US industry will need to comply with the record-keeping requirements by either December 2005, June 2006 or December 2006 depending on the company size, i.e., the larger, the earlier. In the US, food safety is seen as part of food security;
- in Japan traceability is obligatory for beef as from December 2004. It can be expected that this will be expanded to other agricultural products. In the EU, traceability is related to labelling in specific cases only. For some sectors in Europe, the requirement for traceability ran ahead of the general requirement, i.e. for the labelling of beef and some beef products, fish, and for the labelling of (non) GMO’s. However, in the case of food contact materials (mainly packaging) the requirement has to be implemented in 27 October 2006.