Food safety and quality - first class traceability for Fonterra


Fonterra is the first dairy company that can electronically trace its product anywhere in the world within minutes. 

Our SAP Global Batch Trace system spans 12 countries, 250 operations and has 430,000 electronic sensors. Through it we can pinpoint where in the world our products are or look at where the products have come from, right back to the farm gate.

Fonterra General Manager for Food Safety and Quality, Tim Kirk, says food safety and quality is a top priority for Fonterra and something we won’t compromise on. 

We’ve always been able to track all our products manually, but with this new system we’ve brought everything together giving us the ability to do it at pace. It also meant we could open product traceability to our consumers.

Tim Kirk, Fonterra General Manager for Food Safety and Quality

Being able to determine where food has come from and that it is safe is important to people around the world. There is also a strong link between authenticity and provenance, and food safety and quality.

Part of Fonterra’s provenance story lies in its Trusted Goodness seal that represents Fonterra’s commitment to providing a world class product from grass to glass. 

Kirk says the customer can almost instantly confirm the authenticity of a product on the shop shelf in front of them or at home in their kitchen. They can also check it has not reached its sell-by period and is safe to consume.

The software does this in three stages. First it returns the unique identifier to the customer. When the code is coloured green, they know have an authentic Fonterra product. At the same time, the software shows a product image shot. This means the consumer can check the package in front of them is the same as the one on the database. They also get details about the manufacturing date and the batch number.

Tim says when they tested the traceability programme in market, customers made it clear they wanted to know more about our products – where they’re from, how they’re produced, and their journey through our supply chain.

This led to provenance and origin information being included in the trace information.

“It’s fairly powerful when we’re able to show our customers the story of a bottle of milk within minutes. From the warehouse, depot, supply chain back to the farm – they can see it all, no other dairy company can do that.”