Strategy to Achieve Traceability May be Complex

CANADA - The chair of Trace R&D 2009 says the approach that is taken to achieve food traceability in Canada will need to accommodate complex range of needs and a broad variety of interests, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 11 June 2009
clock icon 3 minute read

Input gathered on traceability from food industry stakeholders, scientists and government representatives on hand last week for Trace R&D 2009 in Winnipeg is now being compiled into a national traceability research and development strategy for Canada.

Conference chair, Dr Karin Wittenberg, the dean of research with the University of Manitoba's Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, says the complexity is around how broad a traceability programme is.

Dr Karin Wittenberg – University of Manitoba

When we talk about traceability it involves everybody along that value chain, from the supplier, to the producer, the processor, transporter, further processing, retailing, all of these sectors are involved and so that is one aspect of complexity.

The fact that our production and processing systems are so different for each of the commodities.

If we look across the livestock-poultry sector, the grains, oilseeds, pulse crops, produce, seafood, each sector is defined in managing itself and managing programs differently so there's complexity because we're talking about so many different products or foods or plant and animal production systems and sometimes the finished product is a combination of those.

Dr Wittenberg notes, as well as serving the Canadian public, it is also important to consider the fact that our industry exports a great deal of what it produces into countries that have their own traceability systems and into countries that have no traceability system.

She suggests, as traceability systems emerge globally it'll also be important for the Canadian system to be compatible.

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