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The Impact of Paper Records on a Food Producer

[Following on from Many Food Safety Numbers are Still Recorded on Paper]

Inevitably, control of food quality and traceability rests solely with the producer. Often retailers punish producers who fail to deliver on traceability with fines, exclusion from range reviews and, ultimately their removal as a supplier.

The Impact of Paper Records on a Food ProducerGiven the consequences of failing an audit or causing a recall, it astounds me that paper is still one of the most common ways of recording traceability.

Producers are under pressure from retailers regarding traceability, and rightly so. They have to suffer the audit and demonstrate their competence in proving traceability. I have many times witnessed the look of terror on a quality manager's face at the thought of a retail audit.

Why is this?
It could be because it will take them hours of searching paper records to prove their competence. It could also be because they know that one missing document or incorrectly written number will cause their whole traceability system to fall like a pack of cards. Another reason is that paper systems rely on people, and often people who are educated to varying degrees. Ultimately, it's because they know their whole future business could be at risk.

In my next blog post, I will examine the impact of paper records on a retailer.

By Colin Elkins, Principal Solution Engineer for Epicor Tropos

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