Firms turn to new traceability systems following ‘horsegate’

By Rick Pendrous

- Last updated on GMT

Meat supply chain traceability has become a focus following the horsemeat scandal
Meat supply chain traceability has become a focus following the horsemeat scandal

Related tags Food supply chain Programmable logic controller

Food companies are increasingly turning to the use of advanced traceability systems to ensure they don’t suffer a similar fate to those hit by last year’s horsemeat contamination scandal, according to a leading control systems supplier.

With food chains becoming more complex, the potential for contaminants to get into food products increases, warns Barry Weller, a product manager with Mitsubishi Electric.

Secure automation platforms with integrated data logging capability are progressively replacing manual approaches, claims Weller. They will help to rebuild public confidence in the food supply chain and reduce the risk of contamination by dubiously sourced products, he adds.

Rebuild public trust

The question for food producers now is how they can reinforce their traceability measures and rebuild public trust, he argues. This doesn’t just hold true for the raw ingredients as they enter the manufacturing process, he adds. It is just as true at every stage of production from storage to mixing of ingredients and from cooking to packaging and from labelling to distribution.

Effective track and trace programmes are not optional: regulatory compliance demands it, he notes. Mitsubishi Electric’s systems help to manage the flow of data, which is critical when it comes to ensuring traceability throughout the food supply chain, says Weller.

Automated platforms

The basic building blocks of these automation platforms are programmable logic controllers and human-machine interfaces, and recent product introductions have further emphasised data logging. Enhanced capabilities on these products enable data to be logged from a range of connected devices including sensors, actuators, servos, inverters and temperature controllers ensuring complete traceability of production.

The data logger supports timed logging as well as trigger logging of events such as an alarm, for example. This is very important for diagnosing the causes that led to the trigger event and minimises downtime. Time-stamped audit trails are also maintained.

Related topics Meat, poultry & seafood

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1 comment


Posted by Vicky Johnson,

will never build confidence in food through horsemeat. No one believes that horsemeat is wholesome because there can never be two classifications of one species that do not cross over through greed. There is no traceability in horsemeat. The US exported 160000 entirely unregulated horses to CA and MX where they were slaughtered and shipped abroad. The US horse dealers are allowed to fabricate drug history. No traceability - not wholesome - no confidence.

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