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What is Traceability?

Updated: May 15

When it comes to food production traceability is required for companies who fall under the Safe Food For Canadians Regulations, and for other companies it is a food safety best practice.

The purpose is to allow a company to fully track ingredients and finished product through the supply and distribution chain in the case of a food safety issue. A manufacturer should be able to isolate the affected production lot code and if needed inform a retailer of an issue and the need to pull product from the store shelves (a product recall). In less serious situations traceability allows a manufacturer to understand any variation in quality.

It requires a system in place that documents the following:

  • Incoming Ingredients: product details, source, received date, lot code

  • Production: track each ingredient lot codes that is used in each production run

  • Product Coding: each batch/day/shift of production receives a unique number at time of production

  • Distribution: details of each shipment are documented including amount, lot codes, customer, carrier, etc.

Many company's begin their traceability system with tools like excel spreadsheets. However, as companies evolve they may look to digital platforms (often subscription based) to help them manage traceability and inventory control. There are a wide range of options available but for a food manufacturer, it is helpful to look at options customized to manufacturing. A few suggestions to research are below:

For further info, the CFIA has published many resources for industry, including this Toolkit for Business:

Written By; Venturepark Labs Team


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