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Food Safety and Traceability, Foodborne Illnesses and Causes

Fruid Retailer_120922A
[Fruid Retailer - World Health Organization]

Food Traceability: from Farm to Smarphone to Table



- Overview

Access to adequate amounts of safe and nutritious food is key to maintaining life and promoting good health. Unsafe food containing harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemicals can cause more than 200 diseases ranging from diarrhea to cancer. It also creates a vicious cycle of disease and malnutrition, especially affecting infants, young children, the elderly and the sick. Good collaboration between governments, producers and consumers is needed to help ensure food safety and stronger food systems.


- Food Safety and Security

Food safety (or food hygiene) is used as a scientific method/discipline describing the handling, preparation and storage of food in a manner that prevents foodborne illness. Two or more cases of similar illnesses caused by eating the same food is called a foodborne outbreak. This includes some practices that should be followed to avoid potential health hazards. 

As such, food safety often overlaps with food defense to prevent harm to consumers. The track in this line of thinking is the security between industry and the market, and then the security between the market and consumers. 

When considering industry-to-market practices, food safety considerations include food origin, including practices related to food labelling, food hygiene, food additives and pesticide residues, as well as biotechnology and food policy and government import and export management guidelines for food inspection and Certification System. 

When considering market-to-consumer practices, the general idea is that food should be safe in the market, and the focus is on delivering and preparing food safely for consumers. Food safety, nutrition and food security are closely related. Unhealthy food creates a cycle of disease and malnutrition that also affects infants and adults.


- Food Traceability 

Food traceability is the ability to track the movement of food and its ingredients through all steps (before and after) in the supply chain.  Upgrading your food traceability processes will allow you to: improve inventory management; be compliant; and maintain a positive brand image.

Traceability involves recording and linking the production, processing and distribution chains of food and ingredients. In the event of a foodborne illness outbreak or contamination event, effective product tracking can help government agencies and those who produce and sell food to quickly locate the source of the product and where contamination may have occurred. 

This allows affected products to be removed from the market more quickly, reducing the incidence of foodborne illness. Blockchain farming enables traceability of information in the food supply chain to improve food safety. Blockchain’s ability to store and manage data creates traceability for the development and use of smart farming and index-based agricultural insurance innovations. This is a big step forward in the field of modern agriculture.


[Alpstein, Switzerland]

- Emerging ICT in Food Traceability

It is among a growing number of consumers who want to be able to trace the origin of the food they feed their families until they get back to the farm. Traceability - the ability to know where food came from, what was made and who made it - is one of the most important food and beverage trends today. Current and emerging technologies may actually make tracking products far more detailed and accurate than we are capable of today. 

The robotics, mobile computing and networking of the Internet of Things (IoT) will eventually allow us to collect and connect data throughout the supply chain. All food we buy has a set of transparent, interconnected technology checkpoints that consumers can gain insight into. Ideally, each harvested produce unit will be assigned a traceable data point indicating the farm and location, a lot number to show the specific field it was grown on, the date it was harvested, the worker who harvested it, the date and place it was harvested, the packaging Workers, to whom the goods are sold, how and by whom they are transported, the temperature and humidity conditions during transport, and how and to whom the product is distributed. Does that head of cauliflower go straight to the supermarket, or to a distribution center where more people handle it? 

So the question arises: Who is all this data entrusted to? In fact, the distributed ledger system used to power Bitcoin, called the blockchain, may be the answer. Many agricultural companies are working hard to work with various partners in the food and farming industries to better leverage blockchain for the benefit of their customers. This technology provides a token when the food is created and is tracked all the way to the final consumer selling point. When consumers pick up at the grocery store, it has completed a detailed story -- from farm to table.


- Transport: The Key To Efficient Agricultural Marketing

Henry C. Wallace, one of the former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, once said,

"Agriculture is our largest industry and transportation is our second largest industry. These two industries are interdependent and the well-being of the country depends on both."

The statement simply puts into perspective the significant impact of a reliable and efficient transportation system on the marketing of agricultural products, which is, quite simply, moving agricultural products from where they are produced to where they are needed. During this time, the United States ushered in the era of the development of railroad transportation, along with other developments such as the invention of labor-saving farm tools and the freedom of government in disposing of land. All of this culminated in the most dramatic period of agricultural expansion and industrial urban development the world has ever seen.

In essence, agricultural marketing is the simple procedure of buying and selling of farm produce, and transportation is that key element that enables the product to reach the consumer.


- Enhancing Agricultural Market Access through ICT

Market information services, especially those based on mobile phones and tablets, can improve farmers' access to markets and satisfy consumption by improving the flow of information between traders and producers, reducing transaction costs and enabling farmers to purchase the inputs they need. ability required by the reader. 

The potential of information and communication technology (ICT) continues to expand as new programs and applications are developed and the velocity of information increases. Farmers use their mobile phones to network and use this broader expertise to access critical information faster and make better decisions on transport and logistics, price and location, supply and demand, diversification of the product base and access to inputs.

By improving supply chain management (SCM), ICT tools enhance logistics and reduce transaction costs by: (1) reducing coordination and transportation costs; (2) increasing transparency of decision-making among partners; (3) distributing market and weather information ; (4) Ensure traceability.



[More to come ...]

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