Identifying your ‘lot’ or batch is mandatory under the Food Standards Code.
For Australia, there’s no prescribed format, but it typically takes the form of an alpha-numeric code. Some wineries use a code that’s modelled on a day/month/year format, but certain markets (such as the European Union ) specify a required format, so it’s wise to check the relevant Export Market Guide and take this into consideration.
The lot code may appear anywhere in your packaging; on the label or the bottle itself – often it’s printed on the bottle at time of bottling (but it’s important to confirm this with your packaging facility).
If you only make one ‘lot’ (i.e. one tank, one bottling run or one labelling run), the label will suffice as your ‘lot’.
Why are lot codes so important?
Lot identifiers are primarily for traceability purposes and are crucial in the unfortunate event of a food recall or withdrawal. Food Standards Australia & New Zealand reports that since 2007, there have been over 600 enforced recalls in Australia. Approximately 2 per cent (12) of these have been for alcoholic beverages.
Most of these have been for packaging faults rather than issues with the product itself – for example damage to bottles during filling that might result in broken glass being present.
Importantly, if you don’t use unique lot codes on each packaging run, it’s very difficult to identify the bottles affected, meaning if a recall is necessary you may need to recall a very large portion – or even the entirety – of a batch of wine, with obvious financial costs in addition to risk of damage to your business’ reputation.
Detailed labelling information can be found on the Wine Australia website , but the Regulatory Services team also welcomes questions and can be contacted on (08) 8228 2000 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
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