Traceability in the animal feed sector is a system that makes it possible to identify the origin of the product from the field to the consumer, and the product can be transformed or processed. It is a set of measures that allow all movements of incoming and outgoing units to be controlled and monitored in order to achieve quality production with a safe origin.
In the animal feed sector, the traceability of pet food is based on aspects involving food safety, ethics and commercial responsibility. It is an adequate and integrated inquiry system covering animals and products of animal origin. This is key for an effective risk assessment throughout the production chain.
It addresses both animal health and food safety related to food of animal origin. In particular, an effective food safety policy must recognise the interrelated stages of food production and, therefore, the need for an accurate system to identify and inspect all hazards related to raw materials, agricultural practices and food processing.
This traceability calls for a method to identify animals from birth, their breeding environment, through production, to offal or cuts, packaging, transport and storage arrangements, at all stages of the supply chain. Identification numbers must be applied and accurately checked to ensure a link between them.
Traceability must be upward and downward; this means that it must be possible to trace back from the animal to the final product and from the animal to the whole origin of its food, medicines, etc.
According to the World Organization For Animal Health (OIE), traceability of feed is important not only to ensure animal health and safety, but also to meet these requirements in the processing of food products of animal origin.
The identification represents the first step towards a certification system based on traceability of information. It makes it possible to monitor feed, whether of plant or animal origin, how it has been processed, packaged, stored and transported to the processing industries.
This allows for the analysis of the animal’s nutritional history, making it possible to find the most suitable inputs for the animal’s needs and avoiding the spread of diseases.