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From field to table: traceability in the rice supply chain

mundiriso rice traceability

Now more than ever, consumers pay particular attention to what they buy, especially with regard to food. In this sense, traceability has become a crucial component of the food industry.

This is also the case in rice production: from the field to the table, each grain of rice goes through a journey involving a number of steps, which can have a significant impact on the quality and safety of the final product.

Traceability of rice not only provides a guarantee of quality and safety for the consumer, but also promotes sustainable and responsible production practices, evidencing the entire supply chain from the rice field to the consumer’s table.

The concept of traceability in rice supply

In the context of the rice industry, traceability concerns the process of tracking each grain of rice through all stages of the chain: from sowing and cultivation in the field, through harvesting, processing and packaging, to distribution and retailing. This concerns not only the location of the grain at the individual stages and the relevant time frames, but also the methods, i.e. the agricultural practices adopted, the processing methods used, the transport and storage conditions, and so on.

Thanks to technological innovations, rice traceability can now be achieved with an unprecedented degree of precision. The use of technologies such as QR codes, blockchain and sophisticated enterprise resource planning systems allow detailed, real-time monitoring of every stage of the rice journey. This level of visibility has great advantages, not only in terms of food safety, but also for efficient supply chain management, waste reduction and compliance with industry regulations.

Traceability is also essential to identify and trace specific rice varieties through the supply chain. Every rice variety has its own unique characteristics in terms of flavour, texture, cooking time and nutritional value, and these differences must be taken into account when considering the final product, also in relation to the dish the consumer intends to cook.

With an effective traceability system, companies can ensure that the specified rice varieties are those actually presented to customers, increasing customer confidence and ensuring product integrity. Moreover, the traceability of varieties can help protect and promote local and traditional rice varieties, supporting biodiversity and the sustainability of the rice sector.

Traceability and Organic Certification

One aspect not to be overlooked when talking about traceability in the rice supply chain is organic certification. This type of certification, which can only be issued by EU-recognised Certification Bodies, guarantees that the rice has been produced according to precise organic standards.

Field production is therefore not sufficient to achieve it. Every stage of the production process, from sowing to processing and packaging, has to be monitored and certified. This certification process requires a stringent traceability system to ensure compliance with organic standards throughout the supply chain.

For instance, Mundi Riso has implemented an effective traceability system that allows the rice to be monitored at all stages of the production process, guaranteeing consumers a product that meets the strictest organic standards. This kind of traceability is essential to reassure the consumer as to the origin and quality of the product they are buying and underlines the importance of traceability in the rice supply chain.

What the law states in relation to rice traceability

The traceability of rice in Italy is governed by a series of rules and regulations, including Italian Legislative Decree no. 131 of 4 August 2017, which establishes the criteria for the use of the term “classic rice” and for the verification of varietal traceability. The specific rice varieties that can use this label are Arborio, Baldo, Carnaroli, Roma, S. Andrea, Vialone Nano and Ribe.

To maintain traceability, all participants in the rice supply chain must adhere to a series of requirements, ranging from the cultivation and production of rice to its processing and packaging. The identification of the product is ensured through the use of existing documentation, such as forms, registers and certificates, reinforced with specific annotations concerning “classic rice”.

The companies also have to undergo controls by the Ente Nazionale Risi (Italian National Rice Authority), in addition to checks carried out by the relevant control bodies.