When you choose a tomato to prepare a salad or a sandwich at home, do you know where this product comes from beyond the supermarket, do you know the origin of that tomato?
With the increasing demand for food, consumers are demanding better quality, better sizes, and year-round availability, which has made them increasingly aware of the food safety of these products and the process of getting them to their table.
All companies must be able to identify the origin of their products and inputs, this process is known as traceability.
Traceability can be defined as the possibility of finding and being able to track a product throughout all the stages that make up the production chain, i.e., with traceability, we can determine “when and where it was produced and by whom”.
By this we mean knowing “where the products have been delivered to (forward traceability)”, and “where the products that are in our hands come from (backward traceability)”, as well as “what we do with the product from the time it arrives until it leaves” (internal traceability).
How does a proper traceability system benefit us, for example, in the unfortunate scenario of a problematic product, this system provides us with a guide to facilitate the investigation and identification of the origin of the problem, as well as to facilitate the removal of the products once they have arrived at their destination.
Each company can design and establish a method of control and identification of its products and can make it as broad as it deems necessary, nevertheless, we must know that the more developed and accurate a traceability system is, the faster it will be to find the origin of a product or problem.
The agricultural companies that are members of the Veggies from Mexico community have excellent traceability systems, they can identify from which area or section of a field the product comes, in which means of transport it was transported to the packaging, and which processes it went through until it reached the distribution center.
For more information on the minimum requirements to be met in your traceability system, you can consult the FDA website: FSMA’s Final Rule on Additional Traceability Recordkeeping Requirements for Certain Foods – FDA
To what extent are you able to identify your product?