In accordance to the definitions of traceability by the Codex Alimentarius and the Federal Animal Health Law, respectively, traceability is:
“The ability to follow the movement of a food through specified stages of production, processing and distribution.”
“Series of systematic technical and administrative activities that allow to keep track of processes related to birth, rearing, feeding, reproduction, harvesting and processing of an animal, animal products, and chemical, pharmaceutical, biological and food products for animal use or animal consumption until their final consumption –identifying in every step, its spatial location and, as applicable, animal health and contamination risks that may be present in each one of the activities.”
Therefore, traceability is the possibility to find and trace back, throughout all production, transformation and distribution steps of a food or substance aimed at being incorporated in food. Traceability gives credibility and efficacy to the control system for animal safety throughout the food chain.
A good traceability system, plays an important role in protection of consumers’ interest, and gives great benefits for companies, such as:
It allows to demonstrate the cause of a problem.
It facilitates the actions taken, aimed at preventing the reoccurrence of a problem.
It fosters commercial food safety of products and generates trust in consumers.
It increases safety and economic benefits for different stakeholders of the supply chain of goods.
It is a tool to get a high-level of protection of life and health of individuals.
It contributes with quality assurance and product certification.
It allows for more efficiency in managing food safety incidents, crises or alerts. This prevents or softens the effects of possible alarms in the population, which so much harm has inflicted on consumers, the industrial sector, as well as the authorities involved.