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Self-checking, training and technology: the recipe for flawless traceability


By George Jordan, general manager of the National Union of Fruit and Vegetables Importers and Exporters, and managing director of Saint-Charles International.



By George Jordan, general manager of the National Union of Fruit and Vegetables Importers and Exporters, and managing director of Saint-Charles International. (Photo D.R)
By George Jordan, general manager of the National Union of Fruit and Vegetables Importers and Exporters, and managing director of Saint-Charles International. (Photo D.R)
Over the last few years, new technology has significantly improved the traceability of fruit and vegetables. Saint-Charles International is a hive of activity in this area, giving rise to the co-operative platform @ticfel. But staff training and a sound knowledge of regulations are also vital in the quest for flawless traceability.

Ensuring at all costs the quality and safety of fruit and vegetables for consumers requires a process that guarantees the reliability of information throughout the processing, transportation and distribution chain. 

In 2004, experts at Saint-Charles International began working on a common communication system called SCITEX, which includes a shared IT platform,@ticfel, and client software called Client Scitex.

Freedom to choose IT resources for traceability and protection levels

This external tool for exchanging traceability information means firms can respond to requests throughout the fruit and vegetables supply chain without duplicating internal data. 

The platform gives firms the freedom to choose their IT resources for traceability and protection levels. It also enables each member company to create its own user profiles, setting access rights for the different kinds of information made available by the members themselves. 

The co-operative food safety platform @ticfel enables simultaneous monitoring of lorries, the weight of goods coming into Saint-Charles International, listings, remote import and export declarations, traceability and health information. 

Alongside the development of information and communication technologies, the quality campaign initiated in 2001 has been accompanied by programmes drawn up in 2002 together with the Directorate General of Consumer Affairs, Competition and Fraud Prevention (DGCCRF) in Paris. These certification programmes involve the firms themselves checking the produce they receive to ensure it is compliant with current rules. 

All staff members of firms that have signed the agreement with the DGCCRF have received beginners' training from the Interprofessional Technical Centre for Fruit and Vegetables in Paris and participate in annual refresher courses at the beginning of the season. 

The appearance of a quality logo, generally on sales and marketing documents and packaging, shows compliance with self-checking procedures. Each company is given an approval number by the DGCCRF. 

This approach, which is consistent with the recommendations of the HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) method, opens up new commercial horizons. After all, a reassured consumer is a more willing consumer!

George Jordan


Monday, October 29th 2012



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