Q. Why are accurate record keeping and traceability programs critical?
A. If an operation can’t demonstrate, through record keeping, that they’ve done all the right things and complied with their own food safety plan, then they won’t be able to defend themselves if someone alleges that their product was contaminated or, worse, caused an illness. For most companies, 99.99% of the food safety records they keep will probably never be reviewed again. But for that one lot where it really matters, having the records might save them from a very expensive recall.
Another important point: Don’t bother keeping records unless they are kept consistently and they are accurate. If there is any indication that any of the records may not be complete or accurate, none of the records will be believed.
Record keeping is something that growers and handlers have not done enough of, so it will be more work and take more time than they are doing today. But record keeping does not have to be burdensome. Understand what is important to record and find ways to record, retain, and be able to access that information accurately and simply.