Documentary Standards and Reference Materials - Safeguarding the Food Supply Chain Together
Complex, multinational food supply chains create many opportunities for miscommunication, fraud, adulteration, and mislabeling. To ensure that consumers receive products that are safe and accurately labeled, manufacturers and suppliers need to participate in fully transparent supply chains. This means that the industry needs to develop and apply supply chain controls that address ingredient identity and purity as well as microbial safety. Digital technologies can play a role in efficient information exchange in these supply chains, but (as with paper records) the contents of digital records are subject to inaccuracy and falsification when they are created. Public standards, such as those in the Food Chemicals Codex (FCC), are an important tool for ensuring that each batch of an ingredient has the expected identity and purity and that the accompanying records correspond to the physical material. Effective and user-friendly standards include a documentary component and associated reference materials. The documentary component contains a description of an ingredient, specifications that define food-grade attributes, and methods that can be used to test for adherence to the specifications. The reference materials can be used in conjunction with the methods as laboratory controls, for system suitability testing, and as calibrators. Reference materials produced specifically for use with a documentary standard are important for meeting the metrological requirements in the ISO-17025 laboratory competence standard. This presentation will include an overview of the role of ingredient standards in protecting supply chain integrity and will introduce FCC standards and reference materials as tools for verifying that the protective measures are effective.