We recently attended an event where Dr Ann MacDonald, Assistant Secretary at the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources for the Australian Government, was a keynote speaker discussing the traceability of agricultural products. As an adopter of traceability principles and processes relating to both organic certification and HACCP certification, Simply Goodness are naturally curious and engaged on the topic, and thus would like to share with our audience.
What is Traceability?
Traceability is essentially being able to trace a food product to its source. Historically, the primary purpose of food traceability visible to consumers related to food safety – such as product recalls, food contaminations, etc. However, recent consumer demands have driven the traceability system to support other factors such as country of origin, animal welfare (eg. free range) and use of chemicals (eg. hormones, organic).
Traceability of Australian Produce
This poses the question: How is traceability achieved in Australia? How can a customer, sitting in a restaurant on the other side of the world, ordering an Australian steak off the menu, be confident that the steak served was indeed from Australia?
Dr MacDonald explained that traceability reaches beyond just provenance - in the example of the steak – it can include the pedigree of the cow, the gene pool, the feed that was used, any medication used, where the cow was raised, which abattoir, where the steak was stored, at what temperature, with what packaging material?
Consumers' increasing awareness and concern of the end to end supply chain is driving the increase in transparency across the industry. Dr MacDonald, who is managing the National Traceability Project, said the project has found that the current traceability system in Australia meets the needs of consumers and Australia's trading partners, providing assurance to support the certifications and claims, and that the Australia's agriculture industry has a strong history of providing safe products for domestic supplies and exports, and are looking to enhance and prepare for the future.
The next step of the project will develop framework and an action plan to enhance Australia's agriculture traceability system. One potential solution may be to use technologies such as blockchain across the whole supply chain - creating transparency and preventing fraud.
Traceability at Simply Goodness
Reflecting on our own processes and products, traceability is built into what we do day to day, to provide reassurance to our customers on both food safety and organic certification. The process allows us to trace a particular pouch of 6+ Months Pumpkin Puree to the specific farm the pumpkin comes from, and which batch. Furthermore, what temperatures they were cooked at, cooled at, stored at, and for how long.
We understand our customers' desire for the best produce and the desire for producers to be transparent. We have taken great effort to source only certified organic, Australian ingredients from our selection of curated suppliers and producers across this beautiful and pristine country. The recent introduction of the new country of origin labels will help consumers make the right choices to suit their needs. To fulfil our customers' desires for transparency, we have specified which farms, from which areas of Australia our ingredients were grown and harvested. Please see the description for each our products.
So next time you are sitting at your favourite restaurant, ordering a certified organic, hormone free, grass fed, free range, score 9 Blackmore wagyu rib eye, grown in the high countries of Alexandra, Victoria, Australia - please do consider and appreciate the effort behind its integrity from each part of the supply chain in our country's agricultural industry as well as the Australian government.
To find out more about the work of Dr MacDonald and the team at the National Traceability Project can be found on the Australian Government's Traceability Project web page.