Traceability in the QS scheme - How is it checked?
Compliance with the QS requirements for traceability, product identity and labelling are regularly checked at the production, wholesale, processing and food retail stages as part of regular, spot, random sample audits and, in cases of suspicion, audits of special purpose.
With digital cross-checks, QS 2023 was the first quality assurance system to introduce an innovative control instrument that is unique in the industry and which can be used to better evaluate the correct identity of the goods and to further optimise the verification of the traceability of the goods. In the course of the cross-checks, delivery notes with QS goods are selected from the incoming goods in the QS audits. In a second step, these delivery notes are digitised, uploaded by the auditors into the QS database in coded form and assigned there to the respective supplier location. When the supplier is audited, the delivery note is finally cross-checked by checking existing QS requirements for traceability, origin and correctness.
Several times a year, QS carries out separate traceability checks in which samples of fruit and vegetable products with the blue QS certification mark are taken and traced along the entire supply chain - starting from the branches of the retail trade, via the wholesalers (including forwarding agents) to the field of the respective producer company. In the process, the applicable QS requirements for a closed supply chain are regularly checked and measurements of the response time for reporting the necessary information back to QS are carried out. In addition, the results of the traceability checks are validated by residue analyses and isotope analyses in order to be able to clearly confirm the product or origin information.
QS residue monitoring
In the course of complaints in QS residue monitoring, products are traced back by QS along the entire supply chain to the field of the respective producer farm. In order to validate the determined origin, the analysis results are compared with the field files of the producer farms.