Food Traceability is very Important for Exporting Farmers

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Food traceability has grown very important and is defined as the ability to trace and to follow all raw materials, components and products, through the stages of receipt, all production processes and distribution. A food production site must be able to do a forwards and a backwards traceability for a given batch, says Food Safety Management Systems, Mrs. Yvonne Dzuda.

By Francis Bingandadi Managing Editor AgriSeason

Many exporting farmers have had to bear the cost of food recalls that do not meet client requirements and, “most recalls or product withdrawals are caused by unfit product having been sent out to customers. Most common ones are from product that is wrongly labeled, for example, a label is missing an ingredient that is also a known allergen and this could result in some customers getting an allergic reaction to the product. Other examples are wrong product weight or supply of contaminated product that will harm the consumer,” said Mrs. Dzuda.

Many clients do not know how to lodge a complaint when they buy food that does not meet their requirements and Mrs. Dzuda said, “a good complaints handling procedure covers the steps to be taken when a customer complaint is received and steps to be taken to prevent recurrence of the customer complaint. Its good for a company to keep a record of all received customer complaints.”

Food fraud incidences are on the rise globally, there have been a number incidences that are now on the increase in Zimbabwe. “Food fraud is defined as fraudulent and intentional substitution, dilution or addition to a product or raw material, or misrepresentation of the product or material, for the purpose of financial gain, by increasing the apparent value of the product or reducing the cost of its production. (definition from BRC Standards issue 8) Common examples can be: adding water to milk, adding soya chunk to a product labelled “100% beef mince”” said Mrs. Dzuda.

A growing number of food poisoning or cause reactions to foodstuffs has been due to allergens and, “an allergen is a known component of food which causes physiological reactions due to an immunological response. For example peanuts, eggs, gluten etc. The EU has identified 14 main allergens: celery, cereals containing gluten, eggs, fish, milk, molluscs, mustard, peanuts, sesame seeds, shellfish, soya, lupin, sulfur dioxide and tree nuts” said Mrs. Dzuda.

There are also a number of cases that are due to malicious food tempering or poisoning globally and a comprehensive reaction to such incidences has been through, “Food Defence are the procedures that you put into place to ensure the safety of raw materials and products from malicious contamination or theft. Malicious contamination causes harm to the consumer and also damages the company or brand” said Mrs. Dzuda

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