New EU guide on traceability for processors

The European Commission has published a fact sheet explaining the traceability of food, feed and animals, as well as its purpose and regulation. This paper is intended to be a guideline for food and feed processors.

A new EU fact sheet explains why traceability is required in the Common Market, and details the conditions which processors of food and feed must fulfil in order to meet the EU traceability regulation. Traceability supports food safety policies and freedom of choice for consumers, while also minimising trade disruptions. While special requirements exist for GM foods, traceability is by no means limited to this segment.

Instead of giving concrete instructions on implementation, the fact sheet refers only to regulations. Specific responsibilities of industry, member state authorities and the EU are explained only for the case of risk identification.

The paper provides a thorough overview on the topic. Its numerous examples are especially helpful in understanding the aims and function of traceability, and include the success of the Rapid Alert System for Feed and Food in a dioxin contamination in 2004, the traceability codes on various food and animal labels, and the EU research programmes on traceability such as Trace and FoodTrace.