It was inevitable that 2013’s horsemeat scandal would draw attention to food manufacturing practices. But it also cast a spotlight on the way that information was conveyed to the consumer. The fiasco became as much about labelling as it was food production.
The EU is clear on this: manufacturers must provide greater accountability for the traceability of their products. However, the law needn’t be a one-way street designed to benefit only the consumer. When you know exactly where your products are in the supply chain, it’s far easier for food businesses to execute product recalls.
If it becomes necessary to remove an item from either the shop shelves or consumer homes, then identification is a crucial part of that process. Manufacturers need to be able to identify and isolate a batch swiftly to minimise both product waste and the perceived spread of contaminate or problems. That means doing whatever you can to future-proof potential difficulties using powerful traceability and coding systems, right at the source of labelling and product identification.
With rigorous and unique data input and storage at the coding and printing stage, a recall need not be the administrative and potential PR nightmare you might expect. The more streamlined the procedure, the bigger the scope for damage limitation if something unexpected happens. If the recall can be executed before the affected products have hit the shelves, the potential risk of a tarnished reputation is diminished dramatically.
With less than half of the public believing that the food industry is able to react to food scares, tightening up the traceability of the supply chain is an essential part of earning consumer trust. Because that is the long-term cost of product recall – a loss in customer confidence. And that could prove incalculable or perhaps even terminal to a business. Post horsegate, the importance of traceability to consumers doubled. It therefore remains vital to the food industry that customer assurance is earned through visible supply chains, clear labelling and the decreased likelihood of product recalls.
By establishing detailed supply links at the labelling stage, GS1 standard uniformity and using the latest in ultra efficient technology, Domino’s coding technology is an excellent weapon in the battle against food product recall. And if the unexpected happens, then the recall procedure should be as swift and efficient as the initial printing process.