What is traceability?

Traceability is the ability to share information about a product along its supply chain, across production, processing, and distribution.

Effective traceability provides information about a product's journey from the farm to the end consumer. It’s a way of keeping track of information at every stage of a product’s journey, and the ability to share that information when needed.

All participants along the supply chain have a role to play in traceability. This includes food producers, suppliers, freight, logistics, food processing, and storage.

What is a traceability system?

Traceability systems come in many forms and will vary depending on the needs of the business and its supply chain.

Traceability is not defined by a specific system or technology. Information may be recorded manually, on paper, or automated through an electronic, digitalised system.

Why traceability is important

Businesses with limited or weak traceability can experience greater operational and financial risks.

Traceability helps mitigate biosecurity risks and enables prompt responses to food safety incidents.

The effective use of information and data stored in traceability systems can inform efficiency gains that support business productivity and profitability.

Traceability also helps businesses meet global market access requirements.

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.

Benefits of traceability

There are six key reasons to have a traceability system in place:

  • Food safety – records how your business meets food safety compliance requirements
  • Biosecurity – records how your business meets biosecurity compliance requirements
  • Market Access – demonstrates how your business meets international market requirements
  • Provenance – confirms how your product was produced and processed and additionally, where it was distributed
  • Certification – confirms your brand story and product features
  • Productivity – reduces costs, increases speed to market, and minimises food waste.

Global drivers for traceability

Traceability systems help confirm the authenticity, quality, and safety of Australian products.

International governments and consumers are increasingly concerned about food safety and validating claims such as ‘premium’ and ‘sustainable’ produce imported to their countries.

International import market traceability requirements and regulations are increasing. Traceability systems can provide assurances for market access requirements in protocol markets.

Traceability Quick Start Guide

The Traceability Quick Start Guide is a practical tool for anyone wanting to increase traceability measures in their business. Apply the five-step process and determine what traceability system suits your business.

Join the Traceability Community

For more information about traceability, join the Traceability Community and connect with experts listed in the Directory or use the Ask an Expert feature.

Page last updated: 01 May 2024