Following recent news that Pret A Manger’s labelling has been deemed ‘inadequate’, industry expert, Duncan Moir, product manager at Epicor Software, comments on the importance of food traceability:
“Today’s news headlines report that Pret A Manger is still not listing full ingredients on its sandwiches. Despite size, a loophole in the law currently enables food manufacturers and retailers to operate relaxed labelling restrictions— where food is assembled on site. This is a practical solution, as cross-contamination of ingredients cannot be completely ruled out in this process. However Pret’s failure to list a major allergen in its products, despite having received several warnings about this ingredient, highlights that more needs to be done moving forward to protect consumers from exposure to potentially fatal allergens.
“In order to mitigate the risks of future incidents, including risk to life, and damage to brand and reputation, lessons need to be learned. When using products sourced from a number of suppliers, food and beverage companies need to ensure that they have the correct traceability systems in place in order to identify potential risks early. By implementing an effective enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, food manufacturers can monitor both quality and traceability across all purchasing, production, and despatch activities, whilst benefiting from the valuable insights that real-time data can provide. The key thing is having access to the data that enables them to anticipate and rectify issues quickly. By putting in place the correct systems, companies can more easily manage major product recalls and changes to labelling information—as well as mitigate the risks to consumers, and potential damage to brand reputation.”
Duncan Moir, product manager for Epicor Software, UK and Ireland