Traceability: Where to start?
Effective traceability allows an agri-food business to know every detail about goods coming in, moving through and leaving the operation. To achieve this, you need to have the following 3 key pillars built into your traceability system:
Premises Identification is a critical first step to building an effective traceability system. It allows you to know where your inputs are coming from, where your products are currently and where they were shipped to. This information is necessary to have during an emergency or product recall.
What is a premises?
A premises is a parcel of land defined by a legal land description or, in its absence, by geo-referenced coordinates (e.g. latitude and longitude) on which agri-food activities take place.
What you need to do:
Registering your agri-food premises in Ontario
Applying for a Premises Identification Number is easy and free
Information you need to get a Premises Identification Number
If you cannot provide an Assessment Roll Number you will need to provide one of the following:
It is easier to find and track products that have been assigned an identification number or code. Some examples are: livestock identifiers (e.g. RFID ear tags); barcode containing an assigned lot number; harvest or production date.
The method of product identification for processed food may be determined by your commodity or market requirements; learn more at Understanding Traceability Requirements in Your Sector. Below are common product identification methods and industry standards/programs that use them in agri-food sectors today.
A barcode is the most widely used method of product identification for the agri-food sector, particularly the produce industry. A typical barcode consists of a label that is applied to a product, such as an individual item, box, or pallet. Barcode labels are cost effective and can contain customized details about the product such as variety, size, or quantity. However, barcode labelling does have some limitations, such as requiring direct line of sight to scan or read the label, short scanning distance from label to scanner, and susceptibility to wear and tear, as well as environmental conditions that may make it difficult to read the label.
For more information on standards for barcodes, please visit:
Canadian Animal Identification Programs: refer to the following organizations on requirements for animal identification:
What you need to do:
For guidance on your traceability requirements, contact an OMAFRA
representative at 1 877 424-1300 or email@example.com.
Movement recording cannot occur without premises and product identification (see above). Once you have those two pillars in place to support your traceability system, you can track the movement of specific products from one location to another. This involves knowing at a minimum:
More details can be recorded in addition to the above information, such as temperature, cleanliness of transport, etc. according to your business needs, food safety program requirements, or as your customer/market demands.
Movement recording usually involves tracking movements from one physical location to another (e.g. from cow-calf operation to feedlot, from field to packing house, from the farm to a processing facility, or from a processing facility to retail). However, movement can also be tracked within a facility as well, in order to track inventories, schedule production runs and fill customer orders. Examples include tracking inventory in and out of storage areas, use of ingredients on a production line, and movement of in-process products.
Some sectors in Ontario, such as livestock, may have regulatory requirements with regards to movement recording and reporting. There is also an animal movement reporting site located at West Hawk Lake, Manitoba for all transport vehicles carrying livestock between Ontario and Manitoba. Senders and receivers of livestock are asked to report to the Zone database which is part of the Canadian Livestock Tracking System (CLTS). Contact www.zonecanada.ca for more information on permits and requirements for movement records and verification procedures. To discuss potential movement recording and reporting legislation and requirements, contact an OMAFRA representative at 1 877 424-1300 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Getting your Premises Identification Number is easy and free.
For more information: