Food traceability is the ability to follow the movement of a food product and its ingredients through every stage of the supply chain. This involves documenting and linking together the production, processing and distribution chain of the product and its ingredients.
By controlling every step of the process from planting the seeds to packaging and distributing the chocolate, we at Islands are in the unique position to be able to trace our product from cocoa into chocolate.
In the case of a foodborne illness or contamination event, traceability enables government agencies and those who produce and sell food to rapidly find the source of the outbreak and remove the affected product from the marketplace.
Each of our 53 farms, which make up the 800 acres of land we cultivate (as well as the locations of local farmers from whom we purchase a small amount cacao), are GPS mapped. This means we can track our cacao from the start of its journey on a farm in St Vincent all the way through to the batch number of the corresponding chocolate made in Belgium.
What are the dangers in chocolate?
Mycotoxins are naturally occurring toxins produced by certain moulds (fungi) that can be found in food. These filamentous fungi can contaminate many stages of cocoa processing in warm and humid conditions, and poor practices can have a strong influence on the quality of the beans. Apart from causing spoilage, filamentous fungi may also produce aflatoxins and ochratoxin A. These mycotoxins can cause a variety of adverse health effects, ranging from acute poisoning to long-term illness such as immune deficiency and cancer.
Low moisture foods, such as chocolate, are regarded as microbiologically safe, as moisture content levels of below 0.6% prevent microbial growth. However, there is still potential to introduce dangerous bacteria such as salmonella if the correct procedures are not followed. Our chocolatier in Belgium takes food security extremely seriously and is of course HCAAP registered.
We take pride in controlling the entire cocoa and chocolate process from seed to bar, treating our cocoa as 'food' from the moment it is picked from the tree. For this reason, we know that it is safe, and because of our clear line of traceability, our customers can be assured of exactly what they are eating, where it comes from, and how it is made.