Using Barcodes in the Food Industry


Using Barcodes in the Food Industry

Whether you’re a small-scale manufacturer or a national distributor, barcodes play a major part in the food industry, especially when it comes to food traceability.

Food packaging is, of course, one of the many applications on which barcodes are commonly found – the first barcode ever scanned was a Wrigley packet of Juicy Fruit chewing gum, back in 1974. Barcodes are so commonplace that they aren’t really noticed by the consumer anymore, but they do have an important role when it comes to getting food from the producer to the shelves, and in making sure what comes after that doesn’t cause any harm to the general public.

barcodes play a major part in the food industry

How Barcodes Can Help Food Traceability

A unique product code is of the utmost importance when it comes to determining the traceability of any product. In the food industry, this is taken particularly seriously due to the possible affects on the health and safety of the general public.

Barcodes on food packaging:

1. Help eliminate food waste in the supply chain

2. Improve the amount and quality of the information available about the product

3. Maintain high levels of safety of consumable products

4. Provide accurate location and quality data about the product.


Why Is Food Traceability Important?

Barcodes allow businesses to track the movement of raw materials, food components and finished products, which is integral for tracing the production of the food we eat. Making sure different batches and variations of products have unique product codes is essential for inventory and stock movement reasons.

Increasing public awareness into where the food we eat comes from and what it contains means there is greater emphasis than ever on manufacturers, distributors, retailers and wholesalers to be able to provide this information. With everyday tasks like shopping and ordering food often taking place online, having all the data available to be published for the consumer to see is vital.


Product Recalls and Contamination

In cases of contamination or product recalls, effective barcoding of products means that a specific batch of a product can be located and removed from circulation before a serious situation arises. In 2018, everyone’s favourite canned meat, SPAM, had a metal contamination issue, but due to a well-designed barcoding and food traceability system, they were able to take all the affected batches off the shelves with only minimal disruption and minor injuries to the public.

A quick resolution like this puts the company in a good light with consumers. Whereas poor issue resolution can be a major turn off for buyers when it comes to consumables and essential services.


Who Controls Food Traceability?

While everyone is responsible for ensuring products on the market are safe and waste is kept to a minimum, there are bodies whose role it is to ensure food traceability standards are maintained at the highest level.

In the UK, the Food Standards Agency requires that any stage in the supply chain can provide information on ‘one step’ of the chain in either direction of themselves, i.e. where the product came from and who they are directly passing it to. This system ensures that products can be traced throughout their timeline.

In the US, the Foodservice GS1 US Standards Initiative is a collaboration between over 130 companies from the manufacturing, distribution and restaurant sectors to create a common ground for food safety, from farm to fork.

If your business is part of the food industry, contact Tanto Labels for all your barcoding needs. We can provide all types of labels to help you keep track of your products, whichever part of the process you specialise in. If you don’t know what type of barcode label your best option is, speak to our friendly team to discuss your options, today.

Comment : 0

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *