Traceability of animals and animal products is becoming an essential marketing requirement necessary to meet heightened consumer expectations, particularly with respect to food safety. Traceability is a fundamental part of the management and audit systems that have been developed to provide assurances to the consumer.
Most poultry products are produced by large companies who control all facets of production to an extraordinary level. The primary breeding, commercial breeding and production stages of poultry production have had to develop comprehensive recording and traceability systems, for productivity rather than public health reasons. These systems are principally documentary trails on an individual flock basis. Each flock comprises a unit having the same or similar status. Individual identification of poultry is not generally practised commercially, except in elite breeding stock. Traceability systems are being expanded in the production, processing and distribution areas to accommodate consumer concerns regarding public health and other issues.
The nature of the industry and the level of controls applied by the poultry sector can provide sound and sustainable guarantees to the consumer. Future development lies in the wider application of sophisticated computerised systems at primary and further processing levels, to ensure that traceability can be maintained.