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Traceability Records - How Long should we keep them on file?

Traceability HAACP Records

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#1 jbrosky

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Posted 10 April 2015 - 12:48 PM

Hi, 

 

We are a fairly small but busy distributor of Asian produce and grocery items. Since a lot of our business is with individual restaurants, we break cases and do a lot of repacking. We are working on improving our traceability procedures, and while down the road we'd like to automate the process and be able to use bar coding and scanning, for the time being there is a lot of manual record keeping involved.

 

My question is this:

 

How long does it make sense to keep traceability records for?  Is it reasonable to be prepared for a customer alerting us to a food safety concern on an item they purchased five months earlier? Again, with an automated system, this is almost a non-issue, but since we are keeping a written record, the sheer volume of paperwork and it's 'searchability' becomes a concern.

 

Thank you all for you help

 

Jared


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#2 Setanta

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Posted 10 April 2015 - 01:30 PM

Hi!  Welcome to the forum!  :welcome:

 

What standard are you audited against?  I only ask because we are SQF Level II and we have had success with two years, BUT we are a manufacturer.  Since I don't know the extant of what you are doing repacking, you may want to consider something at least this long.  What is the shelf life for your ingredients?  That may play a factor too, for as long as your product could be out on the market, you want to be able to track it.

 

We have the addition that in case of a recall, we will keep the records involved with that recall for a minimum of 10 years.


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#3 jbrosky

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Posted 10 April 2015 - 01:56 PM

Hi, Thanks for your reply...

 

We are really just trying to get our HACCP program firmed up and are expecting a 3rd party Good Distribution Practices (GDP) audit this fall. We do a lot of dry goods (canned and bottled sauces, rice...) and produce. We don't really do any meat or seafood. We have a long term plan to get more automation for tracking our inventory, but like I mentioned, the traceability program we have now requires a lot of manual record keeping. Two years sounds like long enough to cover the shelf life of anything we'd carry, and I think you're right - considering the shelf life and how long our product could be on the market is a good place to start. I wasn't sure if maybe there was a  standard guideline for record keeping or some kind of statute of limitations.

 

Thank you so much for your help,

 

Jared


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#4 mgourley

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Posted 10 April 2015 - 03:17 PM

I would look at the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) for guidance.

 

It mandates 2 years for record retention.

 

Marshall


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#5 Simon

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Posted 10 April 2015 - 03:53 PM

Often customers have there own standards, you may also want to ask a handful of your larger ones.


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#6 jbrosky

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Posted 10 April 2015 - 04:11 PM

Thank you. I will definitely take a look at that.


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#7 jbrosky

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Posted 10 April 2015 - 04:18 PM

Often customers have there own standards, you may also want to ask a handful of your larger ones.

Thank you. I hadn't thought of that.


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#8 jbrosky

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Posted 10 April 2015 - 05:59 PM

Thank you everyone for your helpful suggestions! I appreciate all of your expertise  :smile:


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#9 silentplyr

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Posted 11 April 2015 - 04:21 AM

2years should be long enough


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#10 SUDOBERRY

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Posted 14 April 2015 - 01:58 PM

Hello,

 

do not know for most standards, however rule is a minimum 1 yr over the expected shelf-life of your product.


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#11 blanemasa

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Posted 23 May 2015 - 05:53 PM

Our companies record retention policy is 1 year over the shelf-life of product.  Our products have a 2 year shelf-life making our record retention policy 3 years.


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#12 trubertq

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Posted 24 May 2015 - 05:26 PM

Depends on the shelf life of your products but that plus 1 year is the rule of thumb. Most of my clients keep them 5 years ( they have 2 year shelf life products).


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