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The requirements of international food safety and quality management system standards now contain specific content with regards to “Identity Preserved” (IP) materials/products. Specific identification and traceability systems are required in order to ensure that end products, which are labeled to identify the status of “Identity Preserved” materials, are in compliance with the laws, rules and regulations of product destination countries. It is essential to have IP traceability to ensure the provenance of products; that raw materials are sourced from their claimed origins, and that they are produced, transported and stored without contamination.

When dealing with IP materials, food manufacturers should be aware of a number of areas:

Firstly, food manufacturers should establish an identification and traceability system specific for IP materials. Separated identification codes can be configured for specific IP materials to allow the material labeling/identifying to be defined for a particular code throughout the production operation starting from raw material receiving until finished product dispatch.

Secondly, a traceability system should also be established and maintained with information on the column/row/area where the specific identified code can be recorded and with their quantity stored and/or produced. In addition, testing of the traceability system should include a mass balance or quantity check. This will ensure that there will be no loss of identity of the material and to guarantee that there will be no non-IP material used for the production of IP Products.

As a third area, training should be provided to all relevant staff and workers, whose work relates to IP products or materials. Every food handler should be aware of the status of IP material at all stages of the operation. Preventive measures and equipment should be provided at each storage and production area to facilitate segregation of IP and Non-IP product at all times.

As another area of concern, the Internal Audit process should include specific checks of the following areas at planned intervals to verify effectiveness of the IP identification and traceability system.

  1. IP Product coding system
  2. IP product identification system (material identification/labelling)
  3. IP product traceability system (traceability records starting from material receiving until finished product dispatching)
  4. Records keeping system
  5. Equipment and facilities segregation
  6. Awareness and understanding of IP materials (interview of food handlers at each area)
  7. Formulations checking and its status of IP and the correct application
  8. Risk of cross contamination between IP and Non-IP materials/product
  9. Accuracy of label/packing
  10. Mass balance of IP material

In many countries, Identity Preserved Labeling is now part of a regulatory framework that strives to ensure that products are in line with customers’ requirements. Food manufacturers should seek to have an effective system in place to update information on regulations for product destination countries. With this, the production process can aim to be in compliance with such regulatory frameworks.