Labels, Codes

Category: Food Safety Minute

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All ingredients, packaging components, and finished products should be clearly and uniquely identified through the use of labels and codes.

In order to effectively

  • identify,
  • locate, and 
  • establish and maintain physical control

of ingredients, packaging components, and finished products, it is essential their label and code information is accurate, complete and legible.

Labels must identify what the contents are inside of the ingredient, packaging component, and finished product containers. It is especially important when the ingredient and/or finished product is an identity preserved item such as organic, non-GMO, HALAL, kosher, and allergenic. Our customers and consumers trust and expect that our finished product labels are correct because our products are made under controlled conditions to ensure that we maintain their integrity from receiving and batching through production, storage, and delivery.

Codes must provide all information required by the customer to allow us to manage our inventory using FIFO and to trace our products to the customer and back to the supplier. The ability to trace product is an important aspect of any food business. SQF requires that are finished products are traceable and that we conduct a trace exercise at least annually. Traceability is essential, if a finished product needs to be recalled, and it can limit the size of the recall.

Always make sure you fully understand what the correct code should be for the day per customer requirements. If you are not sure about a code, when setting up or checking a code, then do not hesitate to ask for clarification - to ensure the code is correct.

Taking an extra couple minutes to verify what the correct code is can prevent having to put finished product on hold for incorrect codes. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure or in the case of a large hold, pounds of cure.