Varun Aakash Ganeshvel1, R. Dakshayani2 and Dr. R. Jagan Mohan3


Food traceability is a crucial component of the multi-trillion-dollar food industry’s efforts to maintain food safety along the whole worldwide distribution chain. Traceability described as “the ability to trace and follow a food, feed, food-producing animal or material intended to, or expected to be, incorporated into a food or feed through all phases of production, processing, and distribution” in the food supply chain. Greater assurance of food safety and a decrease in food loss or waste will result from inbuilding highly precise traceability into the present food supply system. An ideal smart food traceability chain couldsupervise the whereabouts of any food, as well as the components and packaging of that food, at any point along the supply chain, from the manufacturer to the consumer.

If here is a need for food recalls, a traceability system wouldassist in promptly locating the source of contamination, allowing parties to take appropriate action (like removing contaminated product from the market) and safeguard customers from the contaminated food. The food sector needs finetuned technology, digital and e commerce-based and smart-food based traceability systems, as recent food traceability systemswas not keen to address all of the key problems with regards tocategory, similarity, and sensitivity for collection of data, neither are they quick enough or cost-effective enough to do so. Smart food traceability is based on two fundamental tenets: (1) employing portable sensors and indicators to gather more thorough, traceableand real – time data about food commodity; and (2) creating innovative traceability techniques by integrating cutting-edge digital technologies like the cloud technology and internet of things (IoTs). In alternateterms, a smart-food traceability system uses cutting-edge detection technologies and digital technology to analyse traceability data to improvise safety of food from farm to plate.

Recent Portable detection Techniques

The traditional approach to evaluate the safe food products depends on identification of food contaminants and adulterants in laboratory setup. Although results from lab-relatedrecognition could be consistent and precise, expensive, complex equipment is needed, which takes time and requires a lot of labour. The shortcomings of conventional methods primarily prevent them from being used for on-site food testing, which fuels the desire for hand held detection technologies that were more affordable and user-friendly. One can categorize the current portable food detection technologies, which include amicrofluidic lab-on-a-chip (LOC),smartphone-based analysisarray sensors andportable spectroscopy.

Portable spectroscopy

Portable spectroscopy, namely infrared (IR), Raman, and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), allows for non-destructive, quick, on-site study of food components and to evaluatesafety of food. These portable spectroscopies have the advantage of being able to examine food samples without causing any damage to the packaging, which significantly lowers the detection cost for food traceability systems. The feasibilityof portable spectroscopy for food system has been established to date, although external variables like temperature and moisture as well as food composition may interfere with measurements.

Array sensors

Using array sensors, food analysis could be done by simulating human sensory perception systems including palate and smell. The rangeof sensors would provide a pattern of distinctive responses while assessing the sensory qualities of food, which can be utilised to identify foods. Electronic tongues to detect the non-volatiles in liquid or electronic noses for volatiles have both been developed as portable array sensors for food systems. Array sensors have a wide range of possibilities for use in food traceability chain for  assessment of contamination of food and originality.

Food Supply Chain – Smart indicators and its sensors integrity

Any type of container that may perform intelligent tasks in addition to serving as a physical barrier between food and its surroundings is referred to as smart packaging. Microbial contaminations and adulterations, which could cause subsequent significant food outbreaks, are currently only checked during manufacturing and process line, and minimally targeted during storage and supply chain. By keeping an eye on the environmental conditions inside the packed items, smart packaging can allay this worry.Two different classes of smart packaging was being investigated to gather information about a produce throughout the food supply chain: (1) indicators besides sensors in food packaging, enables gathering of data with respect to climatic changes and the historical condition of the packed food; and (2) data carriers (such as barcodes) that transmit or preserve data for food traceability and distribution.

Food packaging – smart indicator:

The food sector has used indicators in food packaging system widely and were successfully commercialised. Consumers can learn about the safety and quality of foods packed from these indicators’ visual and qualitative information. Although there are many different sorts of indicators, four main categories have been created for food commodity: temperature condition, product freshness, gas concentration and biosensors for microbial detection.

Temperature based indicators:

The first sort to be created, temperature indicators can determine if food has warmed above, or cooled below, a reference temperature. They are typically used to determine when food has achieved a specific temperature. These were some of the primary indicators used to help customers recognize the possibility of microbe’s development,then protein denaturizationat the time of storage and distribution. The signalling actions depend on biological, polymerization, or enzymatic processes. Because they are economical and environmentally friendly, temperature indicators continue to be essential in preserving the safety and quality of easily degradable (perishable)as well as frozen food products.

Freshness indicator:

Unlike the temperature indicator, a freshness indicator measures microbial metabolites to give a clear indication of microbial growth. A typical feature of this kind of indicator is a pH-related colour shift brought on by the interaction of a colorimetric reagent with microbial metabolites. The detection of volatile nitrogen molecules, amines,glucose carbon dioxide,organic acids,sulphur componentsand ethanol, among other metabolites linked with pH, has been accomplished using such a colorimetric technique. For instance, pH-sensitive natural dyes made from curcumin, grape peel, and beetroot extracts were being employed to estimate a rise in pH accordancefor the completeamount of volatile amines, which could be used to gauge the freshness of meat.

Gas indicators:

Gas indicators offer data on the prevalence of specific gas or variations in gas concentration. The gas indicators could identify oxygen and carbon dioxide that are related to food quality. These can be used to find package leaks as well. Food safety and freshness can frequently be predicted using gases produced by microbial metabolism, enzymatic/chemical reactions, or diffusion into food packaging, as well as in food matrices. The most typical kind of gas indicator is a colorimetrical indicator, such as methylene blue, which could alter colour in the occurrence of certain gas. You can insert these indicators within the packaging of any food item.


To identify the presence of pathogenic microorganisms or their by-products, a biosensor could be incorporated in smart-packaging. The Food Sentinel System was created by SIRA Technologies (USA) and is based on an immuno-biosensor that has a membrane linked to the barcode that contains an antibody against a particular pathogen. This immuno-biosensor system was made up of a sensing region, an immunobead solution pad, and an absorbent material that allowed the target fluids to flow in a specific direction. During theoccurrence of food contamination, by targeted microbes, this biosensor’s integrated indication changes colour to purple. When a product is subjected to microbial contaminations, the colour of the product changes, alerting customers and merchants.Fluorescence signals utilising quantum dots provide greater performance over colorimetric biosensors in the detection of nitrite content in meat-based products and harmful bacteria in beverage. It’sstill uncommon to find commercial package linked with a biosensor indicator due to the toxic content of biosensing materials and economic considerations.

Food Traceability Data Basis Management system

Food traceability via E-commerce now become an eminent field which generates tremendous amount of data in the harvesting, processing, logistics, storage and distribution. Bigdata is a tool for describing huge data which were spontaneous and complex to be managed, visualized and analysed by old traditional techniques. Recent advancement to analyse big-data were,), blockchain management,Internet of Things (IoT), IoT-as-a-service (IoTaaS) and Cloud Computing.


Food traceability system should be strengthened wherever necessary in-order to provide safe food and quality end product for consumer. This article discusses the general technologies adopted in Food traceability system in accordance to ensure quality and safety. Futuristic approach of food traceability system includes big data management using IoTs, cloud computing and blockchain management. Food loss and food wastage to some extend carbon foot-printing could be minimized using food traceability. In developing countries, measures have to be taken by government to reinforce food traceability system for supply chain management. It is duty of each individual food Industries to reinforce food traceability system to make sure of safety, quality,besides it helps in recall of foods.

1 III Year B. Tech, Food Technology, National Institute of Food Technology, Entrepreneurship and Management, Thanjavur.

2 Research Scholar, Food Science and Technology, National Institute of Food Technology, Entrepreneurship and Management, Thanjavur.

3 Professor and Head, Department of Food Product Department, National Institute of Food Technology, Entrepreneurship and Management, Thanjavur.


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