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Traceability Pilot Project Highly Successful

04 June 2010
Manitoba Pork Council

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CANADA - The traceability coordinator with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs reports a facility level traceability pilot project involving 20 Ontario agricultural production and processing operations has been highly successful, writes Bruce Cochrane.

Facility level traceability refers to the ability of a farm or food processing operation to trace their products one step forward to their customers and the inputs for those products one step back to their suppliers.

A facility level traceability pilot project which began in the summer of 2007 involved 20 operations, roughly half farm operations and half processing operations, representing a cross section of 10 Ontario agriculture sectors.

Andrew Watt, the traceability coordinator with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs, told those on hand earlier this week for the Canadian Institute of Food Science and Technology and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada biennial joint conference in Winnipeg the pilot project was highly successful.

Clip-Andrew Watt-Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs

We had 17 of the 20 pilot facilities meet all the criteria and they're pretty tough criteria to meet.

They needed to prove that they could demonstrate that one step up and one step down traceability.

To get there management buy-in was hugely important.

They needed to ensure, if they did have staff in some of the processing operations, that those staff had bought into the process and they were on-side.

It really needed to be a team effort for the larger operations and for the smaller guys just ensuring they had set realistic objectives and outcomes for the project and that again they were able to invest the time and the money up front to get it done and to get it done right.

Watt notes the reason for traceability is to further enhance the safety of the food supply but participants reported additional benefits, including operational efficiencies such as improved inventory control, reduced waste and enhanced production efficiencies, a lot of the things that go part and parcel with having a better handle on your operation in general.

TheMeatSite News Desk

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