Traceability In The Food Value Chain.

Dec 3, 2023 | Articles | 6 comments

Ifeoma Okeke

Have you ever wondered how manufacturers recall products when there’s a risk of damage, disease outbreak, or adulteration? That’s where traceability systems come into play, and I will explain how they work using a simple illustration.

Traceability helps in tracking the journey of a product, where it comes from, where it goes, and what happens to it along the way. Just like a map that guides you from one place to another.

Imagine you are baking biscuits. You gather all your ingredients: flour, sugar, and eggs. Each of these ingredients has its history. The flour comes from a specific mill, the eggs from a particular poultry farm, and so on. You keep track of this information.

Next, you mix these ingredients and shape your biscuit dough. This is similar to how a product is manufactured. It goes through various stages in a factory. At each stage, information is recorded, like the manufacturing date, which machines were used, and who handled it.

The final products are expected to have the following information on the pack before leaving the factory: the production date, the expiry date, the batch number which is unique for each batch, and the barcode which enables the consumers to authenticate the source of the products

Your biscuits are packed and distributed to stores all over the country. During this journey, if someone reports a problem, maybe they found a foreign object in a biscuit, the traceability system springs into action.

Just like you can trace back the ingredients in your biscuits to their sources, consumers can trace back a product to its origin. If there is an issue, they can quickly recall the affected products.

Traceability ensures that product can be swiftly removed from the shelves to protect consumers and the image of the company when it becomes unsafe due to damage or adulteration at any point.

In a nutshell, traceability systems are like the superheroes of product safety. They help us keep track of the product along the value chain, making sure it’s safe for consumption. So, if you buy a product with production date, expiry date, batch number, and barcode remember that it’s not just a random set of digits but elements of traceability to make sure you know the history of what you are buying.

Do you find this insightful?

Ifeoma Okeke

Ifeoma Okeke

Okeke, Ifeoma Vivian (MNIFST) Website Administrator| Quality Management System | Food Safety Professional | QSR Operations Management | Food Technologist


  1. Avatar

    From my experience, traceability is easier with products that are batched during production. However, it is always challenging with continuous production process where you are not transiting from batch to batch.
    It will be nice if this is addressed in the follow up article, it will also be nice to expatiate on two ways traceability. A good article, no doubt.

  2. Avatar

    A very simple illustration. Straight to the point and relatable. Thanks for scripting and sharing.

    • Ifeoma Okeke

      Your feedback on this, is much appreciated, Sir.

  3. Avatar

    An interesting and educational read. Thanks

    • Ifeoma Okeke

      Thank you for engaging, ma.

  4. Avatar

    So articulated!!!


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