When a disease from animals transmits and spreads to humans, it threatens the safety, quality, and reputation of products and businesses manufacturing and distributing them. Through traceability, food businesses can immediately reduce risk and recall the products from circulation in the market. Food safety has amplified over the past decade or so and has been structured through traceability. This allows the tracking of feed, food, animals that produce food at all stages from production to distribution.

Tracking the contaminated items allows not only the removal of them or preventing consumption, but also allows specific, accurate information that’s needed to minimize the impact on trade. In the case of EU countries, as food is exported and traded between them traceability is only effective if all members of the unions meet the agreed terms and requirements.

The General Food Law for the EU came into effect in 2002, making traceability mandatory for all food producers and business owners. All operators of food and feed had to put into effect traceability systems, which allowed authorities to know details of the product’s origins, history, and journey until it reached consumers.

According to the European Commission website guidelines, details like the suppliers’ and consumers’ names and addresses must be documented and the purpose of the product and delivery date of the items. Although not compulsory, it is also highly encouraged to keep records of the volume, quantity, batch numbers, and any other product descriptions for future use.

There are, of course, specific to sector legislation for different types of food products like beef, fruit, veggies, and fish, to name a few. It is necessary in the case of animals, to provide details of their history through ear tags and barcodes before slaughter and then distribution. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) also have a different set of rules for traceability, which looks at accurate labeling to ensure that consumers make choices with precise information about it.

All these measures of food products in the EU continue to be in place to ensure food safety and for businesses to work swiftly to identify, isolate, and then extract contaminated products from the markets.