jeudi 15 octobre 2015

Why Food Should Be Traceable Using Food Traceability Software Systems

By Della Monroe

Food factories nowadays produce literally thousands or millions of individual food products. The products are manufactured in batches or consignments and it is humanly impossible for the manufacturer to check or handle each item. Yet mistakes and low quality items sometimes enter the production line. These products are either not saleable or they pose a health risk to the public. The manufacturer therefore needs some form of system to track and record their products, and food traceability software systems are one option.

There are two main causes of trouble with food products, causing the manufacturer to trace and monitor them. One is that the food is past its expiry date. This is an administrative matter that the manufacturer cannot do anything about. Even if the food remains fit for human consumption, if legislation does not allow the food to be sold then it cannot be, regardless of its quality. No matter how bureaucratic this may appear to be to the consumer, stores cannot disobey the legislation.

The other cause is authentic decomposition, or loss of quality to the extent that the food product cannot be consumed any more. This is usually encountered in the case of perishables like vegetables, fruit and dairy, but it is also possible with canned goods or items which can be stored for a very long time, such as grains.

Software systems are used to mark, monitor and track food products. The manufacturer can locate a batch and then ask for it to be withdrawn from the market using these systems. This is important if the need arises to withdraw or recall a batch of products.

On their own side, the public can also take measures to protect themselves from expired or unhealthy products. The tracing system is not infallible, and products might not be accurately tagged. The expiry date on a product might not be correct, and this might not even be by accident. The date may not have been accurate to start with, or it might have been updated later to prolong the shelf presence of the item.

Canned goods are especially easy to check by the consumer because the metal changes shape as the product goes off. If the can is inflated, the contents are rotting, which may also mean that air has entered into the can. If the can is at all dented, punctured or rusted then it should not be purchased.

Other long-term storage items are also susceptible to expiry and decomposition. This issue arises where the product is designed for this purpose, such as where it is advertised as a "long-life" product. These products sometimes are stored for a very long time, even one or two years. This does not make them immune to expiry and where they have expired and the retailer is still insisting on selling them to the public, the manufacturer or the authorities can be contacted.

The public should be safeguarded against the sale of expired goods since this is not merely a matter of taste or quality. Expired perishables can pose a threat to public health and they should be tracked down by their manufacturer and removed from the market as quickly as possible.

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