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Food Traceability: The Importance Of Supply Chain Visibility

Food Traceability: The Importance of Supply Chain Visibility

Food traceability is just one more piece of the large supply chain puzzle. It can mean a headache for some manufacturers or food logistics providers, but for many, it’s just part of the task when handling temperature-sensitive food products. 

We’ve previously touched on the cold chain and this is an extension, or rather, a recording of those steps in the cold chain. The FDA’s Food Traceability List outlines which foods have to follow proper food traceability guidelines. 

We’ll talk about those guidelines, why they’re important, and how to ensure your products are meeting proper supply chain visibility requirements and compliance needs in this article.

What is Food Traceability?

In order to properly talk about food traceability, we need to make sure we are all familiar with the term. Food traceability is how easily and accessibly a certain food is tracked as it moves through the supply chain. 

Everything from ingredients to final product, both backward and forward needs to be documented for particular foods. This means all aspects of production, processing, and distributing the product and ingredients are recorded.

Why is Food Traceability Important?

Identifying contaminated foods or ingredients is key to public health and safety. And being able to do this as fast as possible ensures consumers are protected from outbreaks. 

Having every aspect of the food tracked prevents or spots foodborne illness outbreaks or contamination. With effective food tracing, government agencies, producers, and retailers can rapidly find a source of foodborne illness, where or how it may have occurred, and remove the affected product from the market faster.

New Era of Food Traceability

The FDA has created a guideline for the future of food traceability called the Blueprint for the New Era of Smarter Food Safety after an FDA November 2022 announcement for additional required traceability records for certain foods. 

The blueprint outlines how food traceability should be handled in the modern era, tapping into technology at its finest within the supply chain. There are 4 elements to this plan:  

  • Tech-enabled Food Traceability 
  • Smarter Tools and Approaches for Prevention and Outbreak Response  
  • New Business Models and Retail Modernization
  • Food Safety Culture 

Each one of the core elements has several actuation steps, including strategies on how to sync varying industry tools for better collaboration and interconnection, and unifying language around food traceability across the supply chain. We look forward to seeing how these play out and impact business and food traceability for the better. 

How to Improve Food Traceability

As we mentioned previously, the FDA has outlined a list of several fresh foods in which additional recordkeeping is required called the Food Traceability List. If you handle or manufacture food products with any of these foods on this list, it’s time to take your food traceability into the modern era. 

Here are just a few ways to leverage technology to ensure food traceability and transparency through the supply chain:


It’s no surprise blockchain is our number one suggestion to enhance food traceability. Blockchain refers to a digital database that is connected and distributed throughout a setup group or network. This makes blockchain extremely ideal for food traceability since foods are monitored and data is digitally dispersed. 

Blockchain allows businesses to track goods in real time and reduces the risk of potential contamination spread through accurate data management. Transparent data management connects varying parts of the supply chain, so sensitive goods are monitored and can be reported on accordingly. If there is an item of concern, the root causes can be identified faster and more efficiently thanks to the electronic record-keeping, scanning, and monitoring of the goods. 

Not only is blockchain beneficial for food traceability, it also has advantages for everyday business uses. For example, using blockchain eliminates costs associated with paperwork and manual processing of data. This means employees are freed to do other more important and less redundant tasks.

GPS tracking

Another technology that helps advance and enhance food traceability is GPS tracking. GPS gives insight into delivery and distribution like never before. Seeing exactly where goods are at any time identifies any potential spoilage risk due to delays or other factors. This gives manufacturers an opportunity to intercept potentially damaged goods before they even get to the retailer, let alone the consumer. 

GPS tracking also gives insight into ingredient origins and if there was cross-contamination with another potentially spoiled or contaminated food before processing. Seeing the entire record and origin of these goods ensures safety standards are met and protects consumers (along with your brand reputation).

Prism Logistics leverages GPS tracking for every shipment, every time. We monitor where food goods are because we understand the importance of food traceability, public safety, maintaining compliance, and upholding your brand’s reputation.

Takeaways on Food Tracability

Every advancement in improving food traceability is another way we are protecting our consumers and our brands from being associated with an unwanted contamination outbreak. Working with a food logistics provider that embraces technology and keeps its data transparent is vital to ensuring food traceability standards are met. 

If you’re ready to improve your food traceability measures and comply with FDA regulations, please tell us more about you – we’d like to help you improve food traceability and impact your business for the better. 

We are headquartered in Northern California and have been working with prominent food and beverage brands for over 30 years. Whether you’re a global or local market supplier, Prism is here to improve your brand and be your trusted food logistics partner.

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