Leading Tracability Initiative
Darigold approaches food safety and security as an extremely high priority – for consumers, our corporate customers, and our business. Darigold’s former Executive VP of the Ingredients business was chairman of the Traceability Subcommittee of the Innovation Center for US Dairy, an industry-wide initiative to provide guidelines for traceability back to the milk supply on the farm. The goal was to have the US be the global leader in dairy traceability. The three primary objectives for adopting traceability practices are: 1) increasing global competitiveness; 2) helping satisfy future requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act; and 3) quickly isolating products to protect public health and prevent brand damage in the event of a safety issue. The guidelines were released in September 2014 with a goal of having 80% of US dairy processors commit to the voluntary guidelines by year-end. Darigold was the first US producer to implement the guidelines for the entire production system of milk. Meeting the traceability guidelines can be accomplished without major investments in technology. What is needed is managerial and staff commitment. Processors conduct a gap analysis by completing a 21-item checklist, then model physical plants, create lot-identifying markers and enhance record keeping. Enhanced traceability provides value that justifies the effort, such as increased awareness of the impact of various unit processes involved, improved recordkeeping to meet FDA documentation requirements, material usage control, increased clarity on recall responsibility with vendors, reduced risk, understanding of inputs, and most importantly, ability to meet customer expectations and gain a competitive advantage.