Traceability system in the meat industry

The traceability It is the ability to collect the historical fabric, use or location of an item or activity through registered identification, this is how it is defined. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

The implementation of the traceability system serves to quickly and efficiently locate an unsafe product in order to prevent it from being placed on the market and reaching consumers; and all data from its history must be known (treatments received, raw materials, self-control results, etc.) in order to reveal the origin of the problem and the existence of other potentially unsafe products.

Considering the above, meat product traceability It is a record of the processes, actions or signs that a product leaves as it passes through the manufacturing process before reaching the end consumer.

Therefore, it seeks to identify and reconstruct the history and journey of each meat product, identifying the origin of its components (from the animal), the characteristics of the applied processes, and the distribution and final location of the product. This enables him to increase quality and value for the consumer.

To achieve comprehensive product traceability, it is necessary to integrate all activities (animal feeding, slaughterhouse, cutting, drying, distribution and marketing) into automated or non-automated systems, which provide a broad and complete vision of the entire production process.

Types of traceability

  • Internal traceability: Refers to everything that is done while the product is inside the plant. Regardless of whether new products will be produced or not, their traceability is carried out within the company. In order to achieve this, it is important to register and save data on those products that will be included in the process, and to know which products the final products are made of.
  • Backward traceability: Its goal is to find out which products enter the company and to know who its suppliers are. Therefore, it is important to record information such as the name of the supplier and the origin of the product, detailed information about it, the supplier’s batch number, the results of hygiene and sanitary controls, the treatments applied to the products and incidents and corrective measures. measures that have been implemented. For all of the above, it is essential that the supplier submits documents such as the invoice, analytical results of the product, records of additional data (animal feeding, treatments and vaccinations, and phytosanitary treatments), documents proving its geographical origin and confirmation that the product is free of genetically modified organisms ( GMO).
  • Possibility of traceability: It consists of the traceability of those products that are already prepared for shipment. For its implementation, it is important to register and save not only the products sent, but also who your customers are. Therefore, the customer’s information, where the product is sent, detailed information about it, date of shipment and batch number, results obtained after hygiene/sanitary controls carried out at the time of shipment must be recorded. dispatch, incidents and corrective measures that have been implemented.

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Five advantages of traceability in the meat industry

  1. Product quality: The consumer now expects the products they buy to generate a comprehensive experience. For example, in the case of meat, people expect not only that it is soft, juicy, good tasting and nutritious, but also that it guarantees safety and that the product is free from physical, chemical and biological risks.
  2. Food safety: Food safety, mainly in the meat industry, is an important aspect that must be given special attention due to its close connection with health. Meat is a food of high nutritional value and precisely because it is rich in water, proteins, vitamins, minerals and lipids, it is easily susceptible to attack by pathogens, which is why proper handling is necessary.
  3. Consumer guarantee: Traceability guarantees the consumer the certainty that the purchased product has gone through a series of strict controls and records that will allow us to follow it from production to the table; Therefore, in case of any deviation, we can immediately resort to corrective measures.
  4. Competitiveness: Another advantage of traceability in the industry is that it makes it possible to strengthen the company and its efficiency and competitiveness in the internal and external markets, since there is a detailed control of the process in each of the stages of the production chain.
  5. Market niches: Currently, in various parts of the world, such as the European continent and some niche markets in North America, there is a high demand for traceable products, animal welfare, carbon neutral and natural meat.

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