Food safety, traceability and sustainability blog

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Traceability / FSMA

Understanding Traceability Events


Capturing and storing the right supply chain event data can help companies visualize their entire supply chain and achieve tech-enabled traceability. Stitching together product and ingredient events at the batch-lot level can increase transparency, reduce time to locate tainted products and minimize waste from withdrawals and product extractions.

Participants in the global food system need to speak the same language in order to reap these benefits. And, in recognition of this need, efforts are being made across the industry to build connections between stakeholders to enable interoperability, while standards bodies and regulators are also seeking to normalize food traceability data elements and practices. Understanding food traceability events is the key to understanding where the industry is headed in terms of supply chain modernization and transparency, specifically the evolution of two key concepts: Critical Tracking Events (CTEs) and Key Data Elements (KDEs).

What Are Critical Tracking Events (CTEs)?

Critical Tracking Events (CTEs) are defined as events recorded throughout the supply chain that are essential for achieving food traceability. CTEs are dependent on industry standards specific to product categories, growing and processing procedures. Examples of Critical Tracking Events in the food industry include growing, receiving, creating, transformation and shipping. 

Further specifications for the types of information that must be captured can be dependent based on the type of CTE. The pieces of information, or attributes, required for each CTE are called Key Data Elements (KDEs). KDEs for food traceability events include data elements such as time, location, lot code, quantities or other units, business identification information and more.


Critical Tracking Events (CTEs) and Evolving FDA Regulations

Minimum requirements set forth by regulatory bodies for the capture and storage of CTEs are evolving, including the recent proposed traceability rule under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) section 204. In 2020, the FDA published a first draft of the proposed food traceability recordkeeping requirements, which the public may submit comments on until February 22nd, 2021. While the definition and requirements surrounding CTEs may change before the rule update is in effect, businesses can start assessing their own processes based on the language available. According to the proposed rule glossary, a Critical Tracking Event is “an event in the supply chain of a food involving the growing, receiving (including receipt by a first receiver), transforming, creating, or shipping of the food. Each CTE has specific recordkeeping requirements, discussed further in the proposal.”

The requirements for which CTEs and KDEs a particular business may need to keep on record vary greatly by business and product types. If you are curious about which CTEs or KDEs may apply to your business within the proposed rule, you can view more in depth information on the FDA website here.


Traceability Event Digitalization

Technology can be leveraged to capture, store and share digitized data elements of key Critical Tracking Events. Traceability technologies include IoT devices, scanning technologies, RFID, automated systems and supply chain transparency software. Together, traceability technologies create an ecosystem that ensures visibility, compliance and enables business innovation. FoodLogiQ’s traceability software provides an essential hub for farm-to-fork event data. With Track + Trace you can:

  • Import event data through your method of choice
    Empower your team to provide event data in the most convenient format for your supply chain. Connect supports EDI 856 over AS2, CSV through FTP or web uploads, manual entry, RFID, API or scanning with the Connect mobile application.
  • Deliver accurate traceability data to the C-Suite and consumers
    Use custom attributes and event types to specify exactly what information needs to be collected from your suppliers and distributors. Empower your team to make data-driven decisions based on supply chain traceability.
  • Prepare for the New Era of Smarter Food Safety
    As food safety and traceability regulation evolves, the compliance mandates around data capture and recordkeeping will continue to hold the industry to higher standards. Prepare your brand for modern food traceability practices.

FoodLogiQ Connect boasts over 50 million CTEs in our system to date, and offers precision and accuracy where you need it most. Get in touch with our team to learn more about getting started and making the most of traceability event data.
Posted by Anna Ploegh on Jan 18, 2021 10:53:50 AM

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