Traceability in Europe: some rules to respect

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Traceability in Europe: some rules to respect

The European Community Regulation, of 28 January 2002 n. 178, provides for the obligation in all stages of production, processing and distribution, to trace food, feed, food-producing animals and any other substance intended or suitable to become part of a food or feed. Food business operators must be able to identify who has supplied them with food and must have systems capable of identifying the companies to which they have supplied their products.

The system has been implemented to guarantee the circulation of healthy and safe food, verifying the real origin of the product and activating direct procedures for the withdrawal of products from non-healthy ingredients from the market, immediately informing the operators involved and the competent authorities in matter.

The existence of a system, which offers the possibility of being able to trace the origin of the materials used for a food product, is necessary for several reasons. First of all to guarantee the safety of food production, to identify the causes of problems and to assign responsibilities among transformer-distributor suppliers. The improvement of the quality of the products supplied and the establishment of an early warning system should not be forgotten.
How to comply with the contents of Regulation 178/02, managing to reconcile the needs of producers?

Traceability systems are based on the concept of "food security", acting as guarantors for consumers and constructively collecting the insecurity and fear spread by the scandals that have hit the sector. Furthermore, while awareness of food risks is growing, the culture of the relationship between nutrition and well-being is increasingly affirmed.

The general principles on which European security policy should focus are: a global strategy, which applies to the entire food chain; clear definition of the roles of all parties involved in the food chain; traceability of food destined for humans and animals and their ingredients.

From 1 January 2005 the concept of "Traceability" was introduced, for all the Member States of the European Union, in application of the Regulation of the Parliament and of the Council EC 2002/178 of 28 January 2002. From that moment to today we have seen to a progressive development of regulation. Also in the field of packaging, the concept of traceability has been reconfirmed, understood in a broad sense of the term, which includes materials and objects that are generally intended to come into contact with food products.

Within the supply chain the traceability of a product can be based on different systems. One is, for example, the "supply chain pact", that is, the agreement that a chain leader has with the links in the chain to define the responsibilities and specificities of raw materials, semi-finished products and material flows.

There is therefore a traceability manual, which requires the product to be identified in and between the organizations involved, and those that are the methods and responsibilities for the management of data and process documentation. The documents that must be prepared are: supply chain technical documentation, document system, certification scheme, flow diagram, identification of critical points, control plan.

It becomes fundamental to equip oneself with the right machinery that can put on paper all the information that must be provided to the consumer by law. The printers of the Eidos Printess line help in this, guaranteeing with an advanced technology the printing of labels containing all the necessary data. In addition to compliance with European standards in matters with the Printess line, time is reduced but quality is kept high with the possibility of modifying variable data. Food safety guaranteed by correct information, both for those who produce, for those who control and for those who buy.