Frequently Asked Questions Food and Beverage Traceability

The Food and Beverage industry is one of the largest industries across the world, since it provides most of the processes food and beverage products we consume every day of our lives. With the world flattening, our products can come from anywhere in the world, from small producers to giant corporations. Because of recent scandals, and a supply chain constantly at risk of fraud and counterfeiting because of the lack of standardization, consumers are asking for full transparency.

At OPTEL, we are dedicated to respond to your needs by implementing a cutting-edge Track and Trace technology that will let you follow your product’s journey, improve your efficiency, visibility, and overall performance while giving your clients what they need.

Become a leader your clients can trust with OPTEL!

 

  1. What is end-to-end traceability?

E2E traceability is the ability to track and trace information about raw materials and the complete and global process across the entire supply chain until the end user.

For example, tracking the cacao flow from a specific plot of land to the cacao processor point, through each distribution center, to the retailer and finally all the way to the end user.

 

  1. Why is food & beverage traceability so important?

Food safety issues can be dangerous for the consumer’s health, and can destroy your brand reputation in seconds, while being quite costly. Foodborne illness outbreaks, counterfeiting, food terrorism, illegal practices and diversion are a reality, companies need to be proactive to minimize the risks of those international threats.

Last year, Food Safety Magazine estimated over 622 global food safety recalls mostly due to some sort of contamination. Each recall was estimated to create losses on average of $10 million. Food-borne pathogens affect as many as 48 million Americans every year, and according to research by Robert Scharff, an associate professor at Ohio State University, the annual cost of medical treatment, lost of productivity, and illness-related mortality is $55.5 billion USD.

Recent studies have shown that food fraud is on the rise. Most of the restaurants and retailers don’t even know if they are selling altered of mislabel food. Consumer’s trust is down and people are not willing to pay a fair price without knowing what they are actually buying and where it comes from. In the end, everybody loses!

Traceability will bring more transparency in the global supply chain. Because of the rising lack of trust from consumers all around the world, brands want and need to give them the answers they need, in order to gain their trust back. A good traceability platform can provide the required proof of:
Quality
Safety
Fair trade
Sustainability
Innovation.

 

  1. What’s the difference between food safety and food quality?

Food safety means that the product is perfectly safe for consumption, it the insurance that the said product will cause no harm to its consumers.

Food quality is more about the characteristics or standard requirements needed to satisfy the consumer.

 

  1. Are there laws and legislation dedicated to protecting consumers?

Most countries have their own regulations and legislation to ensure food safety. The production, processing, distribution, retail, packaging and labelling of food products and by-products are governed by a number of laws, regulations, codes of practice and guidance. In the US, the FDA is the champion of food safety regulations. As for the European Union, the European Food Safety Policy will cover the evolution of food from farm to fork.

 

  1. What are the most common counterfeit food and beverage products?

–          Premium wine and spirits

–          Olive oil and truffle oil

–          Honey alteration

–          Fish and seafood

–          Coffee

–          Spices powder: Safran, cinnamon, black pepper and vanilla

–          Caviar

–          Milk powder

–          Baby formula

–          Meat

–          Balsamic vinegar

–          Fair Trade/Organic certification fraud and much more.

 

  1. What is serialization?

Serialization is the process of putting a unique mark or identifier number at various packaging level. The process allows tracking and tracing of the passage of a product through the supply chain. Many industries have implement serialization legislation, such as the healthcare and pharmaceutical.

 

  1. Why serialization is important?

There are many reasons to serialize, but most important are authentication and traceability purpose. Serialization makes it more difficult and less financially viable for counterfeiters to enter the supply chain. This process helps minimise the risk to consumer by improving safety and protecting the brand.

 

  1. What’s the difference between traceability and Track and Trace?

Both terms are often used interchangeably, they describes the product flow in a supply chain.

 

  1. What’s the difference between tracking and tracing?

Tracking means you’re following the product it as it moves, or following a path it took in the supply chain. Tracing, you’re going backwards along the path the product took to arrive at one point.

 

  1. What is blockchain?

Blockchain is a continuously growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked and secured using cryptography.   Each block typically contains a cryptographic hash of the previous block, a timestamp and transaction data.

It is a shared, distributed ledger that facilitates the process of recording transactions and tracking assets in a business network. An asset can be tangible — a house, a car, cash, land — or intangible like intellectual property, such as patents, copyrights, or branding. Virtually anything of value can be tracked and traded on a blockchain network, reducing risk and cutting costs for all involved.

 

  1. Why is blockchain associated with traceability?

Blockchain technology will change the traceability processes because it can ensure transparent and honest transactions by multiple actors involve in a value chain. This technology can bring a more secure, fair, transparent and effective supply chain.

 

  1. What’s the market demand for traceability technologies?

The implications for both public health, corporate transparency, and anti-counterfeiting efforts are huge: Between agri-food and pharmaceutical industries, the market for tracking and tracing technologies is expected to grow to an expected revenue of $14.1 billion by 2020, according to a report by Allied Market Research in 2014.

 

  1. Why is end-to-end traceability not implanted everywhere yet?

Food supply chain transparency is a scary task, complicated by a vast number of suppliers, plants, distributors, and products. Different producers use different tagging systems, with different software and different sensors to track all kinds of products. The complexity of each supply chain and costs implicated to implant E2E traceability has discouraged most companies in the past.

But now, with emerging technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence and Internet of Things (IoT), simpler and less costly solutions are now available.