From Farm to Fork: Why Food Traceability is Central to Modern Food Safety

Food traceability involves tracking the movement of food from its sources to the consumer. Here's why it is essential to modern food safety.

Last Updated on April 26, 2023 by Ossian Muscad

Food traceability is an essential part of modern food safety. It involves tracking the movement of food from its sources, such as a farm or manufacturer, all the way to when it reaches consumers. This allows businesses to quickly identify and contain contamination to protect public health. By having a comprehensive food traceability system in place, you can ensure that your products are safe for consumption and meet all regulatory requirements.


What is Food Traceability?

Food traceability is the ability to track and trace the movement of food products, ingredients, and food-related items, such as packaging and chemicals, throughout the entire supply chain, from farm to table. It involves recording and documenting information at each stage of the food production process, including production, processing, distribution, and sale, to ensure that food products are safe, high-quality, and compliant with food safety regulations. 

Food traceability informs consumers about the origin, quality, and safety of the food products they consume. Food authorities can quickly identify and contain foodborne disease outbreaks, product recalls, and other food safety issues.


Why is Food Traceability Important?

Food traceability is crucial for several reasons, including food safety and sustainability. Here are some of the main reasons why food traceability is essential:

Food Safety

Ensuring food safety is one of the primary reasons for implementing a food traceability system. By tracing the movement of food products, suppliers and consumers can verify the quality and safety of food items. If a problem is identified, the source of the problem can be quickly identified and the affected products can be recalled to reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses.

Improved Quality Control

Food traceability systems also promote a more rigorous quality control process. By tracking food products throughout the supply chain, companies can maintain records of its food quality and safety standards, detect and correct problem areas, and continually improve production and quality control processes.

Regulatory Compliance

Implementing food traceability systems can help companies comply with regulations and standards for food safety and quality. By keeping accurate records and making these records accessible to regulators and auditors, food manufacturers can show their compliance with relevant laws and regulations, improve their reputation, and avoid legal penalties or fines.

Supply Chain Transparency

Implementing food traceability systems can provide consumers with added assurance about the safety, quality, and sustainability of the products they purchase. By knowing the origin and production history of food products, consumers can make informed choices about their purchases, hold manufacturers accountable for their actions, and provide feedback on the quality of products.


Food traceability systems can support sustainability efforts by promoting responsible sourcing and reducing food waste. By tracking the movement of food products, companies can reduce waste, improve logistics and supply chain efficiency, and reduce the environmental impact of food production and logistics.


How Does Food Traceability Work?

Food traceability involves tracking and recording information about food products and their movement throughout the supply chain. Here are the general steps involved in food traceability:

Data Collection

The first step in a food traceability system is collecting data about the food product, including information about its origin, production, processing, packaging, and distribution. This data can be collected using a variety of methods, including manual data entry, barcode scanning, and RFID tagging.

Record Keeping

The collected data is stored in a database or other digital system. This database contains records of each food product’s entire journey through the supply chain, from farm to table. Each record includes information about the food product’s location, the date and time it was recorded, and any relevant details about the product.

Tracking and Tracing

Once the data is collected and recorded, the food product can be tracked and traced throughout the supply chain. This allows the supply chain stakeholders to monitor the product’s movement and ensure its safety, quality, and compliance with regulations. The tracking and tracing process involves scanning barcodes or RFID tags on the product at each point in the supply chain, from the farm to the retailer or food service provider.

Access and Verification

Food traceability systems allow authorized stakeholders, including regulators, auditors, and consumers, to access the collected data and verify the food product’s origin, authenticity, and compliance with regulations. Verification can be done through a physical product inspection or by checking the data in the traceability system.

Recall Management

In the event of a food safety issue, a food traceability system can help identify the source of the problem and recall the affected product quickly and efficiently. By accessing the traceability system’s records, stakeholders can determine the origin and location of the contaminated product and remove it from the supply chain. This helps reduce the risk of further contamination and protects public health.


Who’s Responsible for Ensuring Food Traceability?

Regulatory bodies around the globe are working with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) of the United Nations (UN) to establish stricter protocols due to the increased ease of global food trade.

The United States has multiple agencies cooperating to guarantee food safety and quality for consumers in the country. The success of FDA food traceability systems relies on the involvement of various stakeholders, such as the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Every personnel involved in the supply chain (e.g., factory workers, farmers, importers, transporters, retail workers) must ensure traceability. It is the responsibility of the individuals in charge to create a system suitable for their industry and integrate technology that enhances the efficiency of the process. This involves implementing practices like detailed labeling, barcoding, and using RFIDs.


Challenges of Establishing Food Traceability

While food traceability systems offer several benefits, some challenges are associated with implementing them effectively. Here are some of the main challenges:


The cost is one of the biggest barriers to implementing a food traceability system. Collecting, storing, and managing data can be expensive, and small farmers or producers may not have the resources to invest in a traceability system. Additionally, the cost of implementing a traceability system can be passed down to customers, leading to higher consumer prices.


The supply chain for food products can be complex, with many different players involved, including farmers, processors, distributors, and retailers. Each player may use different record-keeping methods, making integrating data from different sources difficult. Additionally, some food products may have multiple ingredients sourced, making it challenging to track their origin and movement.


Many food companies still rely on manual record-keeping processes or outdated technology, making implementing a traceability system difficult. Upgrading technology systems can be expensive, and there can be resistance from employees accustomed to existing processes.

Standards and Regulations

The lack of uniformity in traceability standards and regulations can make it difficult to implement. Regulations can also change quickly, making it difficult for companies to keep up with compliance requirements.


Food traceability systems are most effective when all players in the supply chain adopt and use them. However, achieving widespread adoption can be challenging, as some players may resist using new technologies. To be effective, traceability systems require collaboration and cooperation from all stakeholders involved.


Establish Food Traceability Within Your Organization Using a Low-code Platform

Establishing a food traceability system within an organization can be complex and time-consuming. Fortunately, Low-code platforms such as DATAMYTE can help to streamline the process by allowing users to create custom applications quickly and easily.

Low-code platforms make it possible to develop apps without coding, allowing non-technical users to build custom solutions in the cloud. Companies can use low-code platforms to build apps that manage their food traceability processes, such as tracking ingredients and suppliers, managing documents and data related to product quality, and generating reports for government agencies or customers.

DATAMYTE is a quality management platform with low-code capabilities. The DataMyte Digital Clipboard is a low-code workflow automation software that features a checklist and smart form builder. This tool lets you create a comprehensive food traceability template with predefined fields and forms to quickly capture information.

To create a checklist or form template using DATAMYTE, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to the DATAMYTE software platform and navigate to the ‘Checklist’ module.
  2. Click “Create Checklist” to create a new template.
  3. Define the title of the template and the category in which it belongs.
  4. Use DATAMYTE’s low-code capabilities by adding items to the template; click “Add Item.” You can define the description of the item, the type of answer required, and any other specifications.
  5. Assign appropriate personnel responsible for completing the template and any required approvals, such as supervisors or quality assurance personnel.
  6. Save the template, and it will be available for use.


DATAMYTE also lets you conduct layered process audits, a holistic assessment of critical process steps, focusing on the areas with the highest risk of failure or non-compliance. By conducting LPA with DATAMYTE, you can effectively identify and correct defects before they become major quality issues.

DATAMYTE is the complete package for creating and implementing food traceability systems. Book a demo with our team today to learn how DATAMYTE can help you streamline your traceability process and ensure your business complies with food safety regulations. 



If you’re in the food industry and want to stay compliant with regulations, you must be aware of the importance of implementing a food traceability system. With a food traceability template, you can monitor your entire supply chain, from raw materials to finished products. To create an effective traceability template, use a low-code platform such as DATAMYTE which will let you quickly and easily create custom applications to manage your food traceability process.



Related Articles: