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Food Traceability Not to be Confused with Food Safety

by 5m Editor
5 June 2009, at 10:35am

CANADA - The Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors is encouraging the public to not confuse food traceability with food safety, writes Bruce Cochrane.

Trace R&D 2009, which brought researchers, food industry stakeholders and government together in Winnipeg to discuss traceability, wrapped up on Wednesday (3 June).

Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors senior vice-president trade and business development David Wilkes told those on hand traceability can not be confused with food safety.

David Wilkes-Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors

Food safety requires proper HACCP based procedures throughout the process.

Where a traceability system will come into play is, if you're looking forward from a retailer's point of view, recalling the product, understanding where the product has been shipped to but it isn't a food safety issue at that point.

It's a transparency and a precision issue around the product.

Going backwards through the supply chain, understanding if there is a problem at a particular farm as an example, where the product has moved through the system, maybe some enhancement.

Once again though, if the proper procedures and conditions and processes are applied at that farm, you're not going to get a food safety issue.

I think through those examples what I'm trying to illustrate is the conditions that create a risk for our food are very different than the conditions that are required to go get that product after a food safety issue has occurred.

I also want to stress that we have one of the best food safety systems around the world.

We work in partnership with government agencies such as the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and it is a condition of doing business that we ensure that we have the right processes and procedures in place to offer the safest food that we can to our consumers.


Mr Wilkes stresses food safety in Canada is a condition of doing business and is based on an entirely different set of conditions than traceability.

He notes Canada has a very strong record of food safety, one that all the players in the industry are proud of and take seriously.