Supporting Visibility, Quality and Safety in the European Supply Chain
Traceability Food Trace Contact
Traceability is the ability to identify the past or current location of an item, as well as to know an item's history.
The most well known use of traceability is locating defective or unsafe foods, pharmaceuticals or other products, in order to remove them promptly from shelves. In some cases, being able to quickly and easily recall an item (or a group of items) can save lives. Speedy recall also greatly reduces the potential negative economic impact, and preserves consumers' trust in the quality of their favorite brands and their confidence in the systems that are designed to protect their safety.
There is however more to traceability than just recall. For example, traceability systems can validate the presence or absence of attributes important to consumers, such as organic farming methods, kosher foods, non-allergenic cosmetics, or sugar-free products. Traceability has become a tool in fighting product counterfeiting and protecting brands. Recently, it has also become a regulatory requirement in some countries in the fight against bioterrorism.
Implementing a traceability system within a supply chain requires all parties involved to systematically link the physical flow of materials and products with the flow of information about them. This requires a holistic view of the supply chain, which is best attained by deploying a common business language. The GS1 Traceability Standard meets this criterion. It defines business rules and minimum requirements to be followed when designing and implementing a traceability system. GS1 standards (such as GS1 BarCodes, GS1 EPC, GS1 eCom business messaging, and more) enable the easy implementation of this GS1 Traceability Standard.
More information about the role of GS1 standards in traceability can be found here.
Food safety and food traceability are essential parts of the more and more stricter European Regulations regarding the food sector. Nowadays many different legal regulations (for instance 178/2002/EC and 852/2004, etc.) and independent standards on the field of agriculture and food processing (EUREPGAP, HACCP, ISO 22000, etc.) define the frames of minimum requirements on food safety, food hygiene and food traceability for all parties in the food supply chain. The emerge of traceability as a requirement wasn't so astonishing since without a well structured and efficiently operating traceability system it's almost impossible to withdraw or/and recall the food products from the market in case of food crisis. It is necessary to have a global identification standard as a common language when trading partners communicate and manage material and information flows in order to establish a traceability system. The standard has to be applied on all products and batches ensuring the correct linkage. The GS1 System is the proper standard which fulfills all requirements mentioned before. The effectiveness and quality of traceability systems based on the GS1 standards are attested by European organizations playing an important role in the food sector such as: CIMO (European Association of Fresh Produce Importers), CIAA (Confederation of the Food and Drink Industries of EU), EUREPGAP, ECR (Efficient Consumer Response), CIES (The Food Business Forum) and so on.
For further information regarding traceability please visit the GS1 website.
Traceability coordinator in Europe
For more interesting implementation of GS1 Standards please visit GS1 Dox!