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Traceability in a Fog

Experience has taught the food industry that Government legal traceability requirements are akin to operating in a fog.

If you stick to the one back/one forward requirement that is as far as you will see, so the chances are very slim of seeing that galloping horse coming out of the fog and hitting you.

The legislators probably thought that would be sufficient in a food borne outbreak or a contamination incident. Their inspection/outbreak investigation team would be able to target the suspected source and look at the traceability records. They may then look at ingredients suppliers as the potential primary vector, and look forward up the chain to close off the distribution of the suspected products.

The governments probably anticipated that their own inspection systems would be policing further up and down the chain so there would be no need for them to ask more of the food industry than that.

If there is one lesson to come out of the recent fraud cases it is that a one up/one down system is no protection at all of your  supply chain. That is why the companies asking for supply chain management systems are now positioned further and further back up the food chain.

That being the case it is becoming ever more apparent that those companies are looking to their own experiences in completing supplier self-audit questionnaires to drive their decisions on who to appoint.

Which questionnaires were the most straightforward to complete?

Were they relevant?

How knowledgeable and helpful was the back-up service?

How prompt were the reminders, and how astute were their technical staff in revealing weaknesses?

When you are in a fog the cats eyes are a help, but it is always better to have someone beside you who knows the road.

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