Trace the goodness

Gearing up to electronically trace dairy goodness from farm to market

Fonterra is on track to have total electronic traceability to world-class standards by 2020

From the raw milk source on-farm through every stage of manufacturing and every ingredient in every product sold in every market.

Already, all New Zealand and Australian-sourced products, representing 74 per cent of total global production, can be electronically traced through the supply chain from manufacturing sites to customers.

“We are now making it possible to electronically trace the goodness in every drop of milk our farmers produce and the products we make from it, so traceability will extend back to milk off farms” says Chief Operating Officer global consumer and foodservice, Jacqueline Chow.

“Through our Trusted Goodness™ quality seal we have made a promise to all the families who eat and drink our products and all the customers who use our products that they can trust us. To keep this promise we need to know exactly where our product is, what went into it and what it was used for.

“Today as more products cross borders and consumers put more and more store in value of good nutrition, there is a growing demand for information about what goes into our food and for reassurance that it is produced with a great deal of care. Traceability provides consumers with reassurance.”

Fonterra’s General Manager Trust in Source, Tim Kirk says Fonterra has always been able to trace products from day one, but through systems using a mix of electronic information as well as manual logs and spreadsheets. 

“What we are aiming for now is world-class electronic product traceability, so if we have any concerns about any product we can electronically trace it anywhere in our supply chain within three hours. We are well advanced. By the end of this year 40% of our plants globally will have traceability data electronically connected, a further 50% of the plants will be included by the end of 2017, and the remaining 10% will be completed in 2018/2019.”

He says the versatility of milk and Fonterra’s scale as the world’s largest dairy processor and exporter has required a very broad scope for full electronic product traceability.

“Milk is amazing because of all its uses. You can drink it straight from the glass, turn it into familiar products like cheese, butter and milk powders, and also recover valuable products such as high protein whey or casein through manufacturing processes. Then, at another level, it has individual components like the iron-binding protein lactoferrin, or protein hydrolysates which are very valuable in paediatric and medical nutrition.  

“Often, components extracted from milk during the making of one product will be added to milk being turned into another product. So as well as tracing finished products, our total product traceability has to cover all the various component products we produce and either sell or use.