The US Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) has announced the public release of a report compiled for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) detailing the outcomes of two pilot product-tracing projects.
The two pilot projects focused on testing various product tracing practices for fresh produce and processed foods in an attempt to identify potential improvements to regulatory and industry response to foodborne illness outbreaks.
Tomatoes were chosen for the produce pilot, while foods containing chicken, peanuts and/or spices were selected for the processed food pilot. A number of problems with existing traceability practices were identified, including inconsistent item descriptions and companies operating under multiple names.
The main recommendation resulting from the pilots is that the entire food industry should be made aware of best practices for record keeping, rather than only those producing foods considered ‘high-risk’. In addition, the report recommends that all links in the supply chain should develop product tracing plans and that a new ‘technology platform’ is needed to help the FDA analyse traceability data more efficiently.
The report can be found here.