A taste you can trace

The videos in this series showcase various Victorian businesses. The stories show how they use traceability systems to track stock, prepare for recalls and connect with supply chain partners.

Traceability is an emerging capability for the Australian agricultural sector. The ability to trace a product’s journey from paddock to plate can showcase the quality and unique story of Australian produce. This visibility can also help protect brands against food fraud.

Additional videos and stories will be uploaded on a regular basis. If you have an interesting traceability story to share, please contact traceability@agriculture.vic.gov.au.

Robert Frew:
I think traceability in Australian agriculture is.. It's becoming more and more prevalent. Yeah, everyone's got something to sell and if you've got some sort of advantage with the product you're selling, it's got to be a plus for you, for your products. So, I think traceability is very important. I think it's been driven from overseas customers and domestic customers. And I think everybody in some sort of form wants a bit of information from where their food's coming from.

Marnie Campbell:
So tracing animals, sheep, goat or cattle, at an individual level from a place of birth where they're tagged onto a sale yard to another property, onto an abattoir wherever that may be, we can monitor those movements and we can trace an animal for the whole of its life. So the benefits that we have seen as Agriculture Victoria is improved data integrity.

Speaker:
Victorian sheep and goat producers are required to identify animals with electronic national livestock identification system ear tags, where processors combine the electronic NLIS tag technology with on-plant technology such as DEXA. Data can be linked to individual animals, this allows for the provision of valuable and targeted feedback to producers.

Robert Frew:
So the DEXA system that we've put in is a x-ray scanning system of each individual carcass. What that allows you to be able to do is determine how fat the lamb is, the percentage of fat to bone to meat. So what that basically tells you when you process a lamb, you can make different decisions on whether or not you bone the lamb out or you don't bone it out or you don't over trim it, because it's already lean enough to not be further processed unnecessarily.

Speaker:
Livestock are a very valuable commodity, collecting the right data can help improve efficiencies and find savings along the supply chain. Digital information collected along the supply chain can be interpreted by everyone involved. An effective system can help an industry improve how they detect, track and trace disease and food safety issues, respond to a natural emergency and support export growth. Frew Foods International has invested in internal systems to maximize the benefits of traceability technology.

Robert Frew:
The information is fed back to the farmers, it can help them with overfeeding the lambs, feeding them the wrong product and they really don't know that they sell (UNKNOWN) a lamb based on weight they're happy to get the prices they're getting, based on the weight, but if we're not getting the product that we want, then we won't buy the lambs from those certain suppliers. So if we can feed the information back to them over time, they can improve their systems and improve the product, improve sales, improve the export that just makes everyone's business a lot easier to manage.

Speaker:
Victoria implemented electronic NLIS tagging of sheep and goats in 2017.

Robert Frew:
We adopted it very early, probably too early, but we're leading the way now and it's good to see these things, you know, opening up and we just need more states to get on board, Victoria's jumped ahead, which is great. And I think the supermarkets domestically are demanding it and export will be something that everybody wants.

Speaker:
For more information about traceability, visit agriculture.vic.gov.au/traceability. Authorized by the Victorian Government, 1 Treasury Place Melbourne.

Narrator:
Located in the heart of Gippsland's lush dairying country, Maffra Cheese Company has a global reputation for producing some of Australia's best cheeses.

Ferial Zekiman:
Traceability is critical to the business. If there is an issue with the product, you have to be able to recall that product immediately for public health issues and also for the reputation of the business. So, Maffra, we are vertically integrated. It comes straight from the farm to the factory. We don't mix our milk. It's all single source milk.

Peter Hoffman:
If the milk aren't right, well, they can't make cheese. So everything's got to be spot on. The tanker comes and picks it up and they take a sample and then it gets sent off to the lab.

Ferial Zekiman:
Every milk sample is tested, chemical testing and also micro testing. So we can trace back the quality of the milk. And then every process of the manufacturing of the cheese can also be tested. And each batch is actually sent off to the labs for testing.

Narrator:
Maffra Cheese is a handmade, typically using little mechanization modelled on the very early Australian cheddar plants.

Ferial Zekiman:
We're certified by FSCC. And in order to maintain that certification, it's a requirement of the program, we have to do regular mock recalls. So these are done every two or three months just to ensure that we're up to speed with the traceability of the product.

Narrator:
Traceability follows the movement of a product through its supply chain across the stages of production, processing and distribution. This enables transparent information to be shared with producers, transporters, retailers and exporters.

Ferial Zekiman:
We have a trucking company who's certified, who collects our product, takes it to the Melbourne Depots. We check the temperature of the truck when it arrives and visually inspect the truck to make sure that it's clean and suitable for the product.

Geoff Beechey:
Traceability for Nature cargo is paramount for the business. Being in the food industry, we have to supply a quality product and if there is something wrong with that product, yes, we have to be able to recall and find out exactly where it's gone. That traceability starts from Maffra and all the way through to our customers. But we have documents and procedures along the way that we can follow that product from manufacture all the way through to supply. So there'll be no problems.

Ferial Zekiman:
Traceability is an imperative for our business because it protects our brand, it protects the consumer and allows me to sleep at night.

Narrator:
For more information about traceability, visit agriculture.victor.gov.au/traceability. Authorised by the Victorian Government, 1 Treasury Place, Melbourne.

Speaker:
Traceability is the ability to share information about and follow the movement of a product through all or part of its supply chain across the stages of production, processing and distribution. For more information about traceability, visit agriculture.vic.gov.au/traceability. Authorised by the Victorian Government, 1 Treasury Place, Melbourne.

Page last updated: 07 Dec 2022