22 Oct 2019 From Farm to Fork: Recording each step of a food’s journey
From a food safety perspective, the ability to trace a product from “farm to fork” is incredibly important. This allows retailers and businesses to respond rapidly to any food quality/safety incidents, thereby minimising consumer exposure to sub-standard or potentially dangerous products. Under UK legislation, all food businesses must be able to identify where their raw materials (including packaging) came from and where their products are going to. Ideally, each firm should be able to take one step forward and one step back in the chain, apart from businesses who sell directly to the end consumer. Product-specific legislation also applies to certain foods including beef, fish and genetically modified crops.
1. The Farmer
The farmer is responsible for growing the crops/raising the livestock which eventually makes its way to our plate. Depending on agricultural practices, produce may encounter pesticides, herbicides or antibiotics. This should be documented by the farmer.
Once processed and packaged, food is ready to be distributed by a wholesaler. Wholesalers deliver food to supermarkets, local butchers, restaurants and more. Detailed logs, including temperature during transit and delivery notes with itemised lists of goods in transit should be kept to identify any potential cross-contamination.
The consumer is the end of the chain. Any foods purchased by a consumer should contain clearly legible packaging which can be used to identify where the product has come from further down the chain.
Food Safety in the digital era
A new app, known as DUED (Due Diligence Information) helps to document the key processes in the farm-to-fork chain. It’s a HACCP-approved app which allows food producers to go completely paperless and instead make use of a cloud-based due diligence system. It’s the perfect way to save time, storage space and reduce the potential for contamination, and features over 20 different metrics for recording product data. For more information, or to download the app, click here.