United Fresh the produce industry body and GS1 have begun a three year project to investigate traceability within the industry. The project will lead to a series of reports and a comprehensive industry guideline to assist in implementing best practice for the benefit of everyone from growers through to consumers.
Funded by Government through the Sustainable Farming Fund, with further United Fresh funding and contribution in kind from GS1, the project has been under preparation for several weeks but kicked off in earnest this week. The focus is upon the attitudes and perceptions around traceability as well as practical impediments to achieving best practice. It's not about plants, equipment or expensive systems. Rather it is about testing the underpinning methodologies needed for a robust traceability system across an entire supply chain.
What will this project achieve?
The aim is to use internationally tested and implemented GS1 assessment methods to examine the present state of traceability across the fresh produce supply chain and then to generalise the results as far as possible across the whole sector with guidance on how to maximise effectiveness. This begins with walks through supply chains studying track and trace processes followed by two practical pilots over the next twelve to eighteen months. Strawberries and lettuce will be the crops used in the pilots. Participants will be chosen to represent growers of various sizes and levels of technology use and crops will be branded and unbranded, loose and wrapped.
Effective traceability from grower to consumer is now a requirement of the Food Safety Act 2014 and the Food Safety Law Reform Act 2018. Systems need to be robust at all times so that they can be effective in time of crisis.
We welcome industry support for the upcoming Sustainable Farming Fund project. If you have any questions or are interested in being involved, please contact:
Anne-Marie Arts (United Fresh): [email protected] or 0800 24 72 24
Owen Dance (GS1): [email protected] or 0800 10 23 56