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Product title :

The importance of traceability for public health and consumer protection

Author(s) : J.D. McKean

Summary :

Since the 1980s, concerns about the safety and quality of food have increased at both governmental and consumer levels. The importance of traceability of animals and animal products has grown as food production and marketing have been removed from direct consumer control. Product traceability, which requires a transparent chain of custody to maintain credibility and to complete information transfer functions, has two components, namely: a unique identification system, and a credible and verifiable mechanism for identity preservation.
Traceability systems can be subdivided into the following four categories: country of origin; retail; processor; and farm-to-retail identity. Although the availability of computers and electronic data devices can enhance the speed and accuracy of data acquisition and manipulation, a common set of developmental criteria exists, irrespective of data-handling processes. As data management technologies become more powerful and less costly, product traceability requirements will multiply. Public and private sectors should seize these opportunities to improve public health and quality parameters, or risk a narrowing of their markets.

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