This way, should any product present a potential safety risk to consumers, we’re able to identify exactly where it came from and recall it from the market. We call this the “one-step-backward, one-step-forward” approach, which means that at all times we have to be able to track down all the business operators we have worked with, such as suppliers and wholesalers. In order to do so, we keep detailed production records that permit us to identify the link between our outgoing products and our animals, which ensures we’re responsive in the case of a food safety incident. Furthermore, in addition to being an essential part of the European Union’s food safety policies and its “Farm to Fork” approach, the “full traceability concept” also responds to customers’ right to know how their food is produced. This provides them with peace of mind, as they can fully trust that the product they’re buying is legitimate and fairly traded.
This is achieved through the compulsory individual labelling of the cattle: every animal must have a tag on each ear, making it possible to identify them throughout the production process by indicating their places of birth, feeding and harvesting. They must also have a passport that accompanies them through each stage of the production chain. In addition, every farmer keeps an up-to-date record detailing their cattle’s movements. For up to three years after the events, this record must remain available for presentation to the relevant authorities at any time. Last but not least, each European country has its own database containing comprehensive information about its national production, which constitutes a common framework for statistics on the European bovine production industry.