Fonterra’s world-leading traceability system a first for Sri Lanka

New Zealand dairy co-operative Fonterra is leading the way as the first dairy company globally to implement a system that can electronically trace its products anywhere in the world within minutes. As part of this global commitment to boost food safety and quality standards, Fonterra Brands Sri Lanka has introduced this world-class electronic traceability system, called “Trace”, in Sri Lanka – a first for the nation.

The system was introduced to Sri Lanka as the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation established the first-ever World Food Safety Day on 7 June 2019, recognising that people around the world want to know where their food comes from and how safely it’s made, now more than ever.

Through advances in technology, new systems enable the food and beverage industry to maintain high standards and provide greater transparency to their consumers, helping to build trust in the safety and quality of their food.

Fonterra Brands Sri Lanka entered the Sri Lankan market 40 years ago and offers a range of products, including the popular milk powder brand Anchor.

Fonterra Brands Managing Director for Sri Lanka and the Indian Subcontinent Sunil Sethi said: “The theme of this year’s World Food Safety Day celebrations – ‘Food Safety, Everyone’s Business’ – echoes our approach: We believe food safety and quality is the responsibility of everyone in our organisation – from when dairy leaves our farms all the way to consumers around the world.

“Fonterra believes it is essential that food safety is integrated into every part of our daily lives, and our traceability system is the platform we use globally to guarantee this, creating value for our consumers based on trust.”

Below are two examples of how the traceability system works:

New Zealand: Using the batch number, Fonterra can track a pack of Anchor milk powder right back to the New Zealand farm where the milk was collected. The system gives a view of the product’s journey from raw milk throughout the production process, including details of ingredients, shipping, logistics, and storage, up to the point of distribution.

Sri Lanka:The product journey of a packet of Anchor Newdale flavoured milk or yoghurt can be tracked using its batch number from the Fonterra local milk collection centre in Sri Lanka to the point it arrives at the factory in Biyagama, through production, packing and processing, and onwards to distribution.

Sethi further explained how Fonterra converted its world-leading traceability system over the years with significant investment in technology. The system has been developed in accordance with the GS1 Global Traceability Standard, which is adhered to by world-class supply chains internationally.

“We have always been able to track our products through the value chain manually. However, the new Trace system gives us the ability to do it at a much faster pace. Our teams are now even more empowered to protect the safety and quality of our products through the Trace system. We have undertaken five months of extensive training and development involving more than 10 team members, including core food safety and quality personnel, plant managers, warehouse executives and shift leads, including a two-week knowledge-sharing session in New Zealand to enhance our employees’ expertise in product traceability.

“Safe food, safe people, and world-class quality is our promise – and this investment allows us to give Sri Lankans even more confidence in our high-quality, nutritious dairy,” he said.

Fonterra’s SAP Global Batch Trace system spans 12 countries, 250 operations, and 430,000 electronic sensors. It allows Fonterra to pinpoint where in the world its products are at any point and gives total visibility over the journey of all the co-operative’s products from point of collection to point of distribution.