Creative solution improves traceability and allergen labelling

Creative solution improves traceability and allergen labelling

‘When a BRCGS audit is looming the importance of complete traceability and accurate allergen labelling is paramount. Often small, but creative, changes to an existing labelling system can deliver the necessary improvements.’

The Customer

Our customer is an award-winning food manufacturer offering an impressive portfolio of premium quality branded and bespoke products to restaurants, pubs and food retailers. Established in 1991, they have an impressive record of growth through strategic acquisition and now operate at multiple sites across the UK.

At the forefront of their field, they are committed to meeting British Retail Consortium (BRC) standards by maintaining full traceability of ingredients, allergens and products through their manufacturing process at every site.

The Customer’s Challenge

In preparation for a BRC audit at their sandwich filling operation, their technical manager was looking to improve their traceability labelling system. In particular, there were concerns that the current system of attaching a traceability tag to a stack of food ingredient trays did not give full traceability. Once the stack of trays was broken down as they made their way through the manufacturing process, traceability of individual trays could be lost.

In addition, the current traceability system involved hand writing allergen information onto traceability tags. This system was not only time consuming, but left room for misinterpretation of allergen information when 100% accuracy is vital.

In the face of these concerns, our customer turned to Piroto for advice as they knew we have extensive experience of developing effective traceability and allergen labelling systems in the food industry.

Our Approach

The obvious answer to creating a more robust traceability system was to attach a metal detectable traceability tag to each tray in a stack. This simple solution however meant considerable extra time for operatives to handwrite each tag – six times more time to be exact!

In order to negate the additional time commitment needed to hand write trace tags, Piroto suggested the installation of a standalone traceability tag printer.

What we delivered

Piroto not only manufactured traceability tags for the customer’s site, but installed the standalone printer with the ingredients database already loaded. Each of the 132 ingredients was given a code on the database so all the operative needs to do is enter the code, add the batch code and enter the number of traceability tags required. Each tray tag is then automatically printed with the full ingredient description, the use by date, allergen information and the batch code.

10 traceability tags take approximately 30 seconds to print compared to upwards of five minutes if the tags are hand written. In addition, legibility and accuracy are improved with minimal room for human error.

The impact on the customer’s business

By consulting Piroto for advice on improving traceability labelling, our customer was able to make vital changes to meet the  BRC audit standard. They specifically benefited from:

  • Passing their BRC audit
  • Recording full traceability of ingredients
  • Achieving accurate identification of allergens
  • Speeding up their traceability labelling process thus saving time and money.