Traceability

You must be able to trace your food one step back and, if you supply another food business, one step forward.

You must record certain information and keep these records to show your inspector.  

Below is an overview of the legal traceability requirements but it can be a good idea to keep more detailed information. For guidance on this please refer to our Guidance Note No.10 on product recall and traceability

Information to record
Foods of animal origin – extra information to record
Sprouted seeds – extra information to record
How long to keep records
Recall or withdrawal of unsafe food
Legislation

Information to record

For food received by your food business

You must at least record:

  • name and address of the supplier
  • nature of the products supplied
  • date of transactions/delivery

This information can be on the invoices, receipts or dockets you get from your supplier.

For food supplied to another food business

You must at least record:

  • name and address of the customer
  • nature of the products supplied
  • date of transaction/delivery

Foods of animal origin - extra information to record

You must keep more detailed records for foods of animal origin. These include raw meat, fish, eggs, salamis, cheese, cooked ham.

For each consignment received

Record, and update daily, the following information:

  • an accurate description of the food
  • the volume or quantity of the food
  • the name and address of the food business operator who dispatched the food
  • the name and address of the consignor (owner) who dispatched the food, if different from the food business operator
  • a reference identifying the lot, batch or consignment, as appropriate, and
  • the date of dispatch

For each consignment supplied to another food business

Record, and update daily, the following information:

  • an accurate description of the food
  • the volume or quantity of the food
  • the name and address of the food business operator you are dispatching the food to
  • the name and address of the consignee (owner) you are dispatching the food to, if different from the food business operator
  • a reference identifying the lot, batch or consignment, as appropriate
  • the date of dispatch

Sprouted seeds - extra information to record

At all stages of production, processing and distribution, food business operators must record the following information about the batches of seeds intended producing sprouts, or the batches of sprouts: 

  • an accurate description of the seeds or sprouts, including the taxonomic name of the plant
  • the volume or quantity of the seeds or sprouts supplied
  • where the seeds or sprouts had been dispatched from another food business operator, the name and address of: (i) the food business operator from which the seeds or sprouts have been dispatched; (ii) the consignor (owner) if different from the food business operator from which the seeds or sprouts have been dispatched
  • the name and address of the food business operator to whom the seeds or sprouts are dispatched
  • the name and address of the consignee (owner), if different from the food business operator to whom the seeds or sprouts are dispatched
  • a reference identifying the batch, as appropriate
  • the date of dispatch


A batch means a quantity of sprouts or seeds intended for producing sprouts, with the same taxonomic name, which is dispatched from the same establishment to the same destination on the same day. One or more batches can make up a consignment. However, seeds with a different taxonomic name, which are mixed in the same packaging and intended to be germinated together and sprouts thereof are also considered as one batch.
The records must be updated daily and kept available for a sufficient time after the sprouts can be assumed to have been consumed.

 

You must also make sure that all this information is transmitted daily to the food business operator you are supplying with the seeds or sprouts.


Access the legislation on sprouted seeds

How long to keep records

Food businesses supervised by the HSE (inspected by environmental health officer)

You must keep records until such time as the food can be reasonably expected to have been consumed.

(Note: this does not include the small number of businesses supervised by the HSE but who must comply with Regulation 853/2004 on specific rules for food of animal origin.See below for what applies in these cases.)

Food businesses supervised by Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Sea-fisheries Protection Authority, Local Authority and certain establishments supervised by the HSE

You must keep records for at least 3 years.

 

For food of animal origin where the shelf-life is longer than 3 years, you must keep records for the duration of the shelf-life.

Recall or withdrawal of unsafe food

You must know what to do if a food is unsafe and needs to be recalled or withdrawn from the market.

 

A recall is required where the unsafe food has already reached the consumer. Consumers must be informed in these instances.

A withdrawal is required where the unsafe food has not reached the consumer.

You must have a plan in place which includes procedures and support materials that will allow:

  • the unsafe food to be quickly identified and removed from the market quick information to businesses, consumers and the competent authorities
  • accurate information to be passed on to other food businesses, consumers and the competent authorities

Having an up to date contact list is also very important. This should include the contact number for the competent authority.


Our Guidance Note No. 10 on product recall and traceability provides detailed information on how to put a plan in place, who to contact and what your responsibilities are.

 

 

Last reviewed: 27/10/2020

Approved Food Establishments 

Approved

Food Labelling

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Legislation