Globalization has played a significant role in the food industry and the supply chain today. Consequently, food consumption patterns have changed due to a number of factors that include climate changes, increased food importation, and advancements in distribution and retail practices. For instance, climatic change has influenced the way food products are stored, packaged and transported (SGS, 2015). In this light, these factors have exposed food distributors and suppliers to risks associated with contamination, poor quality of products and safety concerns among others. As a result of the growing demand for safety of foodstuffs, food manufacturers in collaboration with distributors have implemented technologies aimed at addressing safety and compliance in the supply chain of food (Hepler, 2015). Food traceability technology is one such measure that has been used in the supply chain.
Food safety and health is definitely a matter of concern for every individual. This is because consumption of unsafe foods leads to illness and may even be severe leading to death. As such, it is the responsibility of every concerned party in the supply chain to adopt technologies aimed at providing safe food products for consumption purposes. The food traceability technology also known as track-and-trace greatly reduces food contamination. This technology works by monitoring all events related to food supply (Lucas, 2014). It effectively detects the presence of any contaminations or any quality concerns that may arise. This software automatically detects safety concerns considering the fact human is prone to error. Furthermore, the processes involved in food production are sometimes very complex. As such, this technology must be very robust and be able to capture large data quantities collected from a series of countless events.
This traceability software has also been fundamental in reduction of food recalls. According to Lucas (2014) food recalls in 2013 amounted to twenty five billion dollars. This represented an overall increase of 52 percent in relation to food recalls. In addition, the United States is considered to import supply products totaling to fifteen percent. Considering these statistics, it is of importance to use the traceability software since it reduces food recalls significantly and other associated costs. This is because the software effectively determines the presence of any contaminants in food. For example, in 2014 the German government falsely attributed to E.coli outbreak to Spanish farms (Lucas, 2014). This consequently led to Spanish exporters losing of millions. This outbreak could have been avoided if the traceability software was used. This software could have determined any contaminants in food. Consequently, no lives could have been lost and exporters could have been saved their money.
The track technology can be added on a company’s enterprise resource planning. As such, linking it to a firm’s ERP ensures that data can be recorded, maintained, traced, or tracked in a timely manner (Lucas, 2014). This means the technology can provide a forward or backward mechanism in relation food safety. In the case of manufacturing food products, this software is capable of determining contaminated ingredients, supplier details, dates when products were received and the presence of any contaminants in the finished product. With such capabilities, there would be few or no product recalls. Consequently, only safe and healthy products would be circulating in the supply chain with the use of this technology.
Technologies like the track and trace are significant in the supplier chain since they help distributors, suppliers, farmers and consumers gain access to quality and safe food products. As such, embracing this technology would go a long way in safeguarding consumers and preventing the use of contaminated foodstuffs.
Hepler, L. (2015). 9 supply tech companies you should know.
Lucas, M. (2014). Track-and-Trace Technology in the Food Supply Chain.
SGS. (2015). EMERGING TRENDS IN FOOD SAFETY CONTROLS FOR PACKAGING, TRANSPORTATION AND SUPPLY.