What is traceability?
Traceability is the ability to track produce through all stages of its production, processing and distribution.
What are the requirements?
Primary producers and primary processors of berries, leafy vegetables and melons must have a system in place that can identify from whom their produce was received; and to whom their produce was supplied.
What does this mean for me?
- For primary producers, you must know details of where and who your harvested produce goes to, from the premises it was grown on.
- For primary processors, you must be able to trace produce at least one step forward and one step back in the supply chain – that is, who and where you receive produce from; as well as who and where you supply produce to. For berries, this needs to include information on the growing site’s location (e.g. in case you receive or supply berries from a business that owns multiple farms).
- If you wash, trim, sort, sanitise, store, combine, pack or transport produce (between primary processing premises), you are a primary processor.
- These are the minimum requirements – check with your food regulator if you need to meet other requirements, such as having a recall system, food labelling, etc.
Getting it right – reducing your risk
For best practice, have a strong traceability system that includes:
- procedures for identifying producers, suppliers, customers and products
- contact details (name, address, phone, email) of your suppliers and a description of products or inputs they each supply
- your customers’ contact details and a description of the product you supplied to them
- dates of transaction or delivery
- batch numbers or lot identifications (or other markings)
- quantities of product supplied or received
- any other production records relevant to your business.
Top tip: The more detail you include in your traceability system (e.g. lot numbers, plot or paddock identification), the faster and more targeted you’ll be able to respond if there’s a problem with your product.
What do I need to do?
- Contact your state/territory food regulatory authority for more details on the requirements you must meet under the standard.
- Read more on each of the requirements in the standards and what it means for your business in Chapter 4: Primary production standards (Australia only).
- Read the Fresh Produce Safety Centre – Guidelines for Fresh Produce Food Safety 2022