Food Recalls Heighten Demand for Traceability

CANADA - A Trace R&D 2009 organising committee member says a recent series food recalls has heightened public awareness of the need to be able to trace food products back to the farm, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 19 May 2009
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Traceability will be the focus on 2 and 3 June in Winnipeg as the University of Manitoba and the Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals host Trace R&D 2009.

The conference will include international speakers discussing traceability related topics, a workshop where participants will identify priority research projects and technology development to assist in implementing a national traceability system and a trade show featuring new traceability technology.

David Hunt, with Manitoba Agriculture Food and Rural Initiatives and a member of the conference organizing committee, describes traceability as the ability to follow the movement of food through all points of a production system from the farm to the consumer.

David Hunt-Manitoba Agriculture Food and Rural Initiatives

I think in different sectors traceability has been important in the past.

It's really been more of a public interest as of late because we seem to be hearing almost daily about food recalls, health concerns, those types of things so right now the public is really keyed into food safety issues.

I think in the past food safety was sort of an expectation and it still is an expectation but we're starting to see that there may be gaps in our food safety systems.

Also there have been some animal health emergencies in other areas of the world such as the foot and mouth disease outbreak in the UK for example and even BSE in Canada more recently and we've seen the economic impact from these animal health emergencies and so people are starting to understand the value of having a traceability system in place.

Mr Hunt notes where in the past people considered traceability as an added bonus, now it is being viewed more as a requirement.

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