The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) has released a report that recommends guidelines for establishing a comprehensive food-tracing system along the entire supply chain to reduce foodborne illness. CSFAN commissioned the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) report in 2008, and will apparently consider its findings when determining
how government and industry can more quickly identify products associated with disease and remove risky products from the market.

IFT, a nonprofit scientific society focused on the science of food, reportedly examined the tracing methods of 58 diverse food companies to prepare the study, which recommends (i) creating a standard list of key data to be collected at each stage of the food chain, from farm to retailer or restaurant; (ii) developing more thorough, standardized recordkeeping methods; (iii) keeping records in electronic format; (iv) requiring a third-party audit of a company’s tracking system; and (iv) providing training guidance on food-tracing systems.

The report concludes that “setting clear objectives for those in the food supply chain, and leveraging existing industry systems to meet those objectives, is the most appropriate approach to effective product tracing. The product tracing system should be simple, user-friendly and globally accepted.” See FDA News Release, November 13, 2009;, November 16, 2009.

About The Author

For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.