Full traceability assured

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TraceCheck, a new, web-based service, offers food businesses all kinds of ways to improve their traceability performance and ensure compliance with stringent EU legislation, which came into force on January 1, 2005.

European food businesses are now legally obliged to trace all food or ingredients they handle. By clicking onto a range of simple diagnostic tools TraceCheck users can assess their existing traceability efficiency against what the legislation demands and to plan and implement improvements.

TraceCheck – available at www.tracecheck.com – provides a structured framework for studying the current situation within a company and identifying strengths and weaknesses. It also guides the user through practical tests of their systems and generates feedback through reports and a traceability “score” based on various criteria. In addition to giving an overview of each company’s traceability, TraceCheck can also provide a detailed analysis of procedures at specific points of control.

Ian Smith, chief executive officer of the Global Food Safety and Traceability Forum and co-ordinator of the EU project “FoodTrace” which defined a European-wide framework for traceability, says: “I am very happy to see the launch of TraceCheck. Many companies are confused about the implications of the new legislation requiring traceability, and are uncertain how in practice to implement traceability. This service helps to clarify many of these uncertainties in the context of the actual situation faced by each individual company.”

Tracecheck is intended to help companies speed up implementation and improvements to their traceability systems, and to provide solid conclusions for management and industry auditors.

According to Claricom, a successful trace is dependent upon accurate product and package coding. Managing director James Butcher comments: “If a manufacturer cannot ensure that the date and traceability coding on a product is correct and unique to the batch in question, they cannot ensure traceability to the standards demanded by the new regulations. Failure to comply is a serious issue, with the risk of a fine or even imprisonment at stake.”

The company’s solution is its integrated Package Coding Management System (PCMS) which ensures a centralised environment where the creation and movement of all data is carefully controlled, to bypass superfluous manual entry and potential mismatches between primary and secondary packaging.

PCMS can be implemented to ensure the accuracy essential for traceability and legislative compliance.

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