Logging traceability information

This sub process describes the requirements, recommendations and guidelines that STAND has for raw materials, input factors, packaging and finished products traded in the retail trade.

The areas described are:

  • What is traceability
  • Which product areas are covered by traceability requirements
  • Which traceability requirements apply
  • Which traceability information should be registered
  • Traceability options

Guidelines and routines for tracking, recall and withdrawal

In its framework, STAND has defined guidelines, recommendations and best practices for how products should be marketed in the distribution chain, and how information on this should be exchanged between the parties.

Central to this is the consideration of the consumer and his expectation for safe food.

The guidelines for tracking, recall and withdrawal do not define food quality requirements, but describe what procedures and processes the industry has established to mitigate any unwanted effects should an incident or crisis occur in a product.

Best practices

The guidelines describe best practices in this area.
By following STAND’s framework, the guidelines will be achievable for all parties involved.

Some important prerequisites for best practice.

  • Routines and processes must be simple, predictable and intuitive
  • Products and deliveries / load carriers must be labeled in a unified, standardized and correct way so that they can be traced through the value chain.
  • Product information must be registered in the Tradesolution EPD
  • Detailed tracking information must be exchanged digitally between the parties and follow the products through the value chain.
  • Action must be taken quickly when an incident or crisis occurs

By ensuring that a total industry complies with STAND’s framework, consumers’ demands and expectations for safe food are fully met.

Objective of the guidelines

The guidelines are aimed at “Contribute to meet consumers’ expectations for safe products”.

Target Audience:

  • Anyone who may or will be involved in any recall or withdrawal
  • Everyone involved in the production or labeling of products and packaging covered by the guidelines

Products / areas to which the guidelines apply:

  • Recommended for food and non-food products, except pharmaceuticals
  • Other inputs, plants, animals or foodstuffs
  • Materials and articles that are intended to come into contact with, or may affect, inputs or foodstuffs.

Medicines are exempt from the guidelines. Here we refer to separate regulations, not described here.

Certain types of food may be subject to additional regulatory requirements beyond what is described here. An example is the EU’s new tobacco directive (EU 2014/40) which make the requirements for traceability of tobacco products more stringent, but is not described here.

Product tracking requirements

The legislation requires that each company must have systems to document which products are purchased from each supplier and which customer has purchased the company’s finished products.

This also includes raw materials and other input that are covered by the legislation.

There is no requirement in the legislation for which type of systems to be used for this.

Businesses can practice more comprehensive tracking systems than the minimum regulatory requirements require, but this is either based on self-imposed requirements or agreements with, and orders from the contracting parties.

Tracking means being able to follow the physical flow of goods. This is often referred to as chain traceability, and assumes that all parties meet the requirements and follow the guidelines for tracking.

Tracking takes into account the legal requirements for all parties to be able to trace their products one step forward and one step back in the value chain.

Tracking one step forward:

This means to the address the products are delivered to.

An invoice system containing information about item number / item name, customer number / customer name and invoice date is sufficient to be able to trace one step forward in the value chain.

If the company is using batch/lot numbers for their products, this should be included in the invoice, despatch advice and the like, or linked directly to the company’s own systems.

Tracking one step backward:

This means the address from which the products are delivered.

The company must keep a log of received products describing which products were purchased from whom and in which quantitiy, and date.

If the addresses for where products are delivered from or delivered to are not in accordance with the legal ownership of the products and the invoice process, this should be agreed separately between the parties.

Requirements for tracking information and labeling

The main purpose of the tracking information is to lay the groundwork for effective blocking, withdrawal or recall of products.

Central tracking information is:

  • GTIN (Global Trade Item Number) – Unique identification of products
  • GLN (Global Location Number) – Unique identification of trading parties, pick-up points, delivery points etc.
  • SSCC (Serial Shipping Container Code) – Unique identification of load carriers / pallets
  • Batch / lot number – A unique batch or lot number defined by supplier / manufacturer
  • Shelf life – Either Best Before date or Last Consumption Date

It is a requirement that the products are labeled to enable tracking.

The marking must be affixed to the product packaging and legible.

The following applies to finished goods traded between supplier and distributor / retailer:

Information to be marked:

  • The name of the supplier
  • Product name/description
  • Product number identified with a GTIN.
  • Best before date / last day of consumption date, if required
  • Batch / Lot number, if required

Load carrier (for example pallet) shall be marked with SSCC.

The sender must in his system have an overview of which recipient the product was sent to, and also the recipient must have an overview of which sender the product was received from. Both sender and recipient must be identified with GLN.

Sender shall in his system register:

  • Quantity sent
  • Shipping Date
  • Reception date (if known)

Recipient shall in his system register:

  • Quantity received
  • Shipping date (if known)
  • Reception Date

The following applies to raw materials and other inputs:

  • GTIN should be used for identification of inputs / raw material, if available
  • GLN should be used for identification of sender / suppliers, if available

More about tracking information and how the product can be tracked in the value chain is described here Recommended traceability methods in the value chain.