Complete Inspection Systems Inc. offers several quality
assurance and inspection systems, including the Q-Spec and
If 2007 is to be remembered as the year of the recalls, then
we in the industry should be working hard to make 2008 a year
focused on safety, reliability and, most of all, trust.
Although traceability should be just one element of already
established quality control systems, it may be the most
important factor in assuring product excellence and security.
With the recent decline of consumer confidence, credibility of
health and wellness claims being questioned and complex global
supply chains, there is a heightened need for transparency and
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
defines traceability as the ability to trace the history,
application or location of that which is under consideration.
Traceability systems are recordkeeping procedures that show the
path of a particular product or ingredient from suppliers
through all the immediate steps that process and combine
ingredients into products supplied to customers and
A call for change
"Expanded national and international food regulations often
historically coincide with increased cross-border trade in
food, and traceability as an innovation clearly results from
the globalization of food," says Deborah E. Popper, in an
The Geographical Review
. Signed into law on September 25, 2007, the Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) Amendments Act of 2007 (Public Law No.
110-85) states that within one year FDA shall establish early
warning and surveillance systems to identify adulteration of
petfood and outbreaks of illness associated with petfood. The
law also requires that within two years of enactment, FDA in
consultation with the Association of American Feed Control
Officials (AAFCO) shall establish:
The US-China Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on Food and Feed
Safety, signed in December 2007, establishes a system of
registration and certification to ensure safety of "covered
products." These products include ingredients for feed or food
like wheat gluten and rice protein, and petfood and treats with
ingredients of plant and animal origin.
Although it is impossible to test for every possible
contaminant, you can minimize the risk through internal quality
assurance (QA) and quality control programs, vendor
certification and in-bound testing, on-site QA audits,
documentation and people processes. You can start by refining
your HACCP or GMP plans, reviewing and tightening product
security programs and reviewing the quality of suppliers. To
keep track of incoming ingredients, construct an ingredient
tracking sheet that includes:
Traceability systems must document the history of the
product and locate the product in the process chain.
Strengthening relationships with suppliers, establishing
documentation and systems to detect outliers, auditing
throughout the supply chains, always tracing backward and
forward, and establishing communication plans will all be
instrumental in assuring quality.
According to Julie Lenzer Kirk of Interstates Cos., there is
already a wide range of traceability systems in place today,
from manually recorded information in paper-based systems to
data gathered electronically through IT enabled systems.
Handwritten or printed labels are being replaced or
supplemented by more effective systems that use
machine-readable identification (e.g., bar codes and radio
frequency ID tags).
Complete Inspection Systems Inc. offers several QA and
inspection systems. The Q-Spec is designed to capture and
compare incoming and finished goods. The system is meant to
quickly capture an image of the product and place the image in
a database of products, organized by date and lot code, barcode
or any other criterion the user chooses. According to the
company, Q-Spec automatically compares all the printed copy, as
well as reads barcodes, including the two-dimensional data
matrix, allowing products to be searched and sorted with a
minimum of manual input.
MultiCheck has the ability to verify the copy and graphics
on labels, cartons and other materials by performing image
comparisons, text comparisons, reading and verifying the
barcodes as well as performing optical character recognition on
documents and applications with variable information.
MultiCheck also has a database component, so the master
documents can be catalogued, with their inspection types and
zones already set.
A chain with many links
To work effectively, traceability means knowing the origin
and exchange points of raw materials, processing plants,
distributors, transporters and their route, warehouses,
packagers, packing materials and retailers. Traceability's
effectiveness means that recipes, ingredients and methods match
up precisely with recorded locations.
Traceability offers the promise that the consumer can know
the full storythe places, people, processes and practicesof
items raised and routed all over the world to end up in their
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