Food Traceability Systems


This topic was moderated by Kenneth Yeh-Lin Chan, M.S. and Fuu Sheu, Ph.D. featured four lectures.


Kenneth Yeh-Lin Chan, Chairman, Taisun Enterprise Co., Ltd., Taiwan discussed food safety management challenges. Mr. Chan emphasized that communication between the government, regulatory authorities, and the food industry is essential in order to be able to quickly respond to a food safety incident. Mr. Chan noted that the implementation of food safety and food regulatory compliance processes must recognize the need for clear and ongoing communication between these entities, and stated that industry compliance is not just important to help the food industry avoid fines or shutdowns, but also to ensure the safety of food across the entire supply chain. Mr. Chan noted that compliance with food industry regulations and food safety protocols requires capturing information, accurately organizing and retaining the information, and quickly and efficiently analyzing and presenting it. Mr. Chan also emphasized that accurately capturing and recording this information can be challenging and time-consuming, and the food industry should consider implementing data-collection methods that lower time and costs involved.


Bev Postman, Ph.D., Executive Director, FIA, UK shared insights regarding global food safety regulatory alignment and discussed the work of Food Industry Asia (FIA) which was formed in 2010 in order to enable major food and beverage companies to collaborate on non-competitive issues such as food safety, food security, and nutrition. The organization acts as a pan-Asia hub for industry associations such as the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration (TFDA) to share best practices and engage with public bodies and other stakeholders at a regional level. Dr. Postman cited the example of the Global Food Safety Partnership (GFSP) created by the World Bank in 2012, the first public-private partnership dedicated to improving global food safety, focusing on middle income and developing countries.


Christie Lin, MBA, Consultant, Taiwan Food Industry Development Association Taiwan gave a presentation entitled, “Data Management Best Practices for Your Food Traceability Program.” Ms. Lin noted that food traceability programs require documentation that 1) identifies products; 2) provides one-step-back (one down), one-step-forward (one up) and internal traceability; and 3) supplies periodic internal checks of suppliers’ business to ensure traceability between raw material received by the supplier and final products.


Hiroshi Agehara, CEO & President, AgeTech & Brains Co., Ltd., Japan discussed business message standards for food traceability. Mr. Agehara cited recent food safety incidents in Japan originating from food hygiene concerns, and highlighted the importance for public health in Japan of having established a traceability system for beef and rice. Mr. Agehara shared several examples of how Japanese companies in the food industry share accountability information and discussed distribution methods of food safety and food hazard information to consumers. Mr. Agehara also noted the importance of clear roles, responsibilities, and relationships between government and industry actors in order to have clear plans for action in place in the event of a food safety incident. Mr. Agehara also discussed successful examples of food traceability infrastructure such as the standardization of EDI protocol in Japan.