The “traceability system” is also named “F.T. system” in agricultural applications. As for agricultural products, it is a “traceable record of processes from production to sales for agricultural products”, that is, stages of production, process, distribution, sales etc. of products. Producers and distributors record data related to production/sales flows of foods in detail for consumers to trace the flows relating to production/sales of agricultural products and understand important information on various production cycles.

With the traceability system constructed by the bilateral communication chain between consumers and producers, consumers can not only trace the agricultural product itself, but also understand the history of the agricultural product, including processes with respect to producer of the agricultural producer, goods consolidation market for concentrating and classifying goods, logistics distribution companies and marketing channels (supermarket, hypermarket, wholesale market etc.). Thus, We may call the process record from farm to dining table as “F.T. (food traceability) system”.

To provide citizens with healthy and safe foods, safe control is required at the various stages ranging from production to consumption. At first, the agricultural production environment has to be monitored strictly to prevent water and soil resources from contamination of garbage, exhaust gas, waste water that will bring heavy metal, toxic chemicals and organism into agricultural products. Next, pesticide, animal medicine, forage and additives have to be used safely for agricultural products in farm (pasture) production stage, such that drug residue will not be against the health safety requirements. Moreover, freeze, cold storage, transportation, process of agricultural products will also impact food quality and health safety. Raw material quality, plant equipments, process manufacturing approaches in food process plants all have to comply with food health safety conditions. Foods sold in the market will deteriorate if they are not stored appropriately or if they are stored for too long time. Therefore, a robust food safety system should cover production environment maintenance, production & sales safety management of agricultural products and inspection and reverse trace of listed foods. Thus, F.T. system of agricultural products is important to food health safety system.

As the living standard increases, consumers pay more attention to food quality and health safety. Therefore, advanced countries, such as U.S.A., Europe and Japan, have started to implement F.T. system, which constructs a system for recording all processes from field production to consumers with respect to agricultural products and providing reverse trace to keep safety of consumers. Consumers may query to know the producer, the production & sales operation flow, the agricultural product safety management and pesticide residual inspection control of the purchased products. In the future, the system may be expanded to cover the products of main vegetables & fruits, cultured fishes, chickens and eggs etc., and construct a safe agricultural information network of Taiwan agricultural products year by year.

We are glad to see that the Council of Agriculture starts to plan and build the F.T. system. However, the construction of F.T. system is not a paper work. The key point is not information system, but production & sales safety management, namely, actuality of recorded stages of operations. If the record is not true, no trust will be gained from consumers and the system will be destroyed and exist in name only. Therefore, coaching, supervision of agricultural affaires authorities, self management of farmers and effective control of farmer groups (especially production & sales class) are ver important. We expect that the F.T. system may be promoted smoothly. The actual promotion of such system allows companies to record credibly for consumers to trace reversely, such that unsafe food abuse may be eliminated.

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