Defined in Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 as the ability to trace and follow a food, feed, or ingredient through all stages of production,processing and distribution,traceability is of decisive importance for consumer protection. More specifically,it is a risk management tool that makes it easier to withdraw foods for which a problem has been detected and to provide consumers with exact and specific information on those products in question.
In order to achieve traceability,food business operators,including importers,shall have systems enabling them to identify their immediate suppliers and immediate customers,except when they are the final consumers (the “one step back-one step forward” approach).
In accordance with that established in article 18.5 of Regulation (EC) No 178/2002, Regulation (EU) No 931/2011 establishes specific traceability requirements for food of animal origin to guarantee that the general requirements set by Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 are applied correctly. Consequently,the minimum information to be communicated between operators within the food of animal origin sector is established,which is the following:
It is worth highlighting that this regulation requires operators to provide information on the physical places of origin and destination of food of animal origin if their address is not the same as that of the owners of the food.
On 12 January 2012, Commission Regulation (EU) No 16/2012, of 11 January 2012, amending Annex II to Regulation (EC) No 853/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards the requirements concerning frozen foods of animal origin intended for human consumption, was published.
This brings together the experiences gained since the date of application of Regulation (EC) No 853/2004 and it shows the difficulties in storing foods of animal origin.
In addition, application by the Competent Authorities has highlighted the need for more detailed requirements in terms of the information that needs to be communicated on the production and freezing of food of animal origin in the stages of production prior to its delivery as such to the final consumer.
This amendment of Regulation (EC) No 853/2004 sets out more detailed requirements and indicates what should be communicated between food business operators: the date of production and the date of initial freezing of food products of animal origin. This regulation is to be applied between food business operators until the phase upon which a food is labelled in accordance with Directive 2000/13/EC, or used for further processing.
In this way, EU legislation stipulates that food chain traceability is crucial in guaranteeing that the foods we consume are safe and also bring additional benefits,as the European Commission outlines in this video on the matter.