Q&A: Traceability in the Dairy, Deli and Bakery Supply Chain

The International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association, International Dairy Foods Association and GS1 US recently released a new traceability guideline. Food Manufacturing spoke with Michael Bromme of Trace One about the new guideline and how it can improve traceability throughout the dairy, deli and bakery supply chain.

Mnet 132872 Dairy Deli Bakery Lead

Interview with Michael Bromme, Executive Vice President, Trace One

The International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association, International Dairy Foods Association and GS1 US recently released a new traceability guideline. Food Manufacturing spoke with Michael Bromme of Trace One about the new guideline and how it can improve traceability throughout the dairy, deli and bakery supply chain.

Q: A new traceability guideline has been introduced to help improve traceability business processes in the dairy, deli and bakery supply chain. How was this guideline developed?

A: This guideline builds on the standards GS1 has promoted for years. It addresses issues such as product identification (GTIN), specific barcodes and traceability related messages (SSCC, DESADV). Globalizing the Raw Material Market requires international standards to be put in place as fundamental guidelines for food safety.

Q: What are the main recommendations provided by the guideline?

A: The guidelines provide “how to” instructions for product identification, use of Global Trade Item Number assignment rules, barcodes and other standards needed for traceability processes. They also suggest steps that supply chain participants can follow when experiencing product withdrawals or recalls. The recommendations provided by the guidelines help companies establish a program to identify, capture and share product data along the supply chain leveraging GS1 Standards.

Q: What role does traceability play throughout the dairy, deli and bakery supply chain?

A: Traceability plays a role in many areas of the supply chain and creates a foundation for managing a recall or withdrawal. These traceability guidelines can help identify all the products that contain a particular raw material all the way down to a certain country-of-origin. Traceability is important for shared product data because it naturally leads to increased consumer confidence. Moreover, traceability also makes for better communication between all ecosystem stakeholders, which will inherently improve supply chain visibility, productivity and food safety. Overall, retailers and manufacturers need to guarantee full transparency and collaboration of their supply lines to prevent any food contamination crises.

Q: What are some of the greatest challenges dairy, deli and bakery companies face regarding traceability?

A: Companies often face challenges with collaboration between all the supply chain players making traceability difficult. The purpose of these standards is to create overarching guidelines applicable to food supply chains, helping to improve traceability efforts. Involving several industry groups promotes the communication and collaboration between all involved in the production of food products. It is beneficial to check that general standards are being implemented. As a result, it is necessary for all players in the supply chain process to work together, from retailers, to manufacturers, down to raw material suppliers. Established standards and transparency down the whole food chain will ensure compliance from all stakeholders.

Q: What steps should dairy, deli and bakery companies take as a result of these new guidelines?

A: To help companies follow these new guidelines, the GS1 Traceability Readiness Program addresses both the players already aware of GS1 standards as well as the smaller entities are new to the main GS1 concepts (such as GTIN, GLN). All the guidelines are clearly explained and definitions in the guide are straightforward even for new players. An established knowledge transfer program exists where processors can easily share best practices with industry peers and experts, and get access to webinars, interactive tools and resources. This program provides the tools to help companies take the right steps in implementing these new guidelines.  

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