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10' cargo containers are the choice for compact, on-site storage at construction sites and oil fields. Food production and distribution systems are becoming more interdependent, integrated, and globalized. In the context of agricultural policy, traceability refers to full traceability along the supply chain, with the identification of products and historical monitoring, and not just the separation of products under specific criteria at one or more stages of the chain. In comparison to some international and commercial standards for traceability, the EU does not require internal traceability4 (that is, it does not require all inputs to match all outputs) (Campden BRI 2009). For food products that are genetically modified, many countries use identity preservation schemes, but only the EU requires traceability. As noted in CAC (2006), traceability can also help identify a product at any specified stage of the supply chain: where the food came from (one step back) and where the food went (one step forward). By providing information on suppliers or customers involved in potential food safety issues, traceability can enable targeted product recalls or withdrawals.
The benefits of traceability for consumers, government authorities, and business operators are widely recog-nized.
Foodborne disease outbreaks and incidents, including those arising from natural, accidental, and deliberate contamination of food, have been identified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as major global public health threats of the 21st century (WHO 2007b).
Not only foodborne illnesses but globalization, consumer demand, and terrorism threats have impelled the diffusion and growth of traceability systems in supply chains for food and agriculture.
Food products may be differentiated through systems of (1) identity-preserved production and marketing (IPPM), (2) segregation, and (3) traceability.
Traceability systems can be classified according their capacity for (1) internal traceability and (2) chain traceability. Good practices in traceability entail making the lot number and name of the production facility visible on each case of product and recording the lot number, quantity, and shipping location on invoices and bills of lading. The implementation of traceability systems and assurance standards is controversial (Schulze et al.
Many developing countries lag in developing and implementing food safety and traceability standards, but some have selectively met demands in high-income export markets thanks to regulatory, technical, and administrative investments. Any application of product traceability systems must take into account the specific capabilities of developing countries. In addition to support systems for developing countries, mobile technology provides new opportunities for smallholders to connect with export markets.
By fostering more linkages, socialization, and networks between small-scale producers, the diffusion of mobile technology can address issues of geographic dispersion and linkages to traders, other farmers, or market groups for quality assurance, marketing, and sales. A good example is the use of RFID technology by an avocado producer in Rio Blanco, Chile, for temperature and cold chain monitoring. Yet traceability systems for bulk products have been implemented in developing countries, even among small-holders.
The RFID tags each cost about US$ 0.25 (paid by the federation), are encased in a wear-resistant capsule, and are distributed to farmers with a farm identification number and a specialty coffee program code. Traceability systems for bulk goods are also implemented for chain of custody monitoring and quality assurance based on consumer demand. The Vietnamese State Agency for Technological Innovation has collaborated with the Vietnamese Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers and private firms (IBM and FXA Group) to implement a seafood traceability system.
Unlike other food industries, the livestock industry has a long history of implementing animal identification and traceability systems to control disease and ensure the safety of meat and dairy products.
Animal identification and traceability systems have numerous applications, such as tracking animal movement, monitoring health, controlling disease, and managing nutrition and yield. The Malaysian Ministry of Agriculture’s Veterinary Department has introduced a government-run system to control disease outbreaks among 80,000 cattle. Korea was another early adopter of animal identification techniques and technologies, using general ear tags from 1978 to 1994, barcodes in 1995, and RFID since 2004. In dairy farming, RFID technology enables unique identification and monitoring of cattle, their feeding habits, health issues, and breeding history to improve yield management. India has introduced cattle tagging for dairy farming in the states of Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra.
Traceability systems may be implemented to improve the global competitiveness of livestock and meat exports, the quality of meat, and chain of custody traceability. Source: From Pettitt 2001, World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) Scientific and Technical Review. Namibia, which started tracking beef in 2004, was one of the earliest emerging market adopters of advanced technologies to ensure quality and traceability (Collins 2004). Basic technologies for animal identification and traceability have applications other than food safety and food security. Implementing traceability technologies for food safety and other purposes does not come without its challenges. In traditional societies, traceability is inherent, because production and consumption occur in the same place, but complying with modern traceability requirements for faraway global markets poses a challenge for small-scale producers with few resources.
Although traceability capacity might have some positive effects on domestic markets in developing countries, by and large traceability systems are unidirectional—they track the chain of custody of food exported from developing countries to developed countries. Some evidence indicates that the global movement toward stricter food safety and traceability requirements has translated into stricter demands in domestic markets in developing countries. The costs associated with implementing traceability systems include investments in capital and infrastructure, record keeping, and improvements in harvesting and processing. With respect to business processes, an important challenge involves the poor integration of organizations in the value chain. Studies from the industrial sector, where traceability systems and techniques originated, emphasize that the main difficulties lie in the design of an internal traceability system for a given, complex production process (Moe 1998; Wall 1994). For small-scale producers, group systems development and certification may ease some of the constraints in implementing traceability systems. Golan, Krisoff, and Kuchler (2004) have argued that mandatory traceability requirements that allow for variations in traceability or target specific traceability gaps may be more efficient than systemwide requirements. Incentives to invest in traceability systems also act as key enablers for their development and use.
A well-known case of the potential damage of a recall on a young industry in a developing country occurred with raspberries in Guatemala. As noted, traceability systems and technologies are also used to certify geographical origin, certify sustainable production processes, monitor the chain of custody, facilitate identity preservation and product marketing, and manage supply chains. In Honduras, the ECOM Agroindustrial Corporation, whose customers are willing to pay high prices for high-quality, traceable products, supports farmers through technical assistance and training (Pfitzer and Krishnaswamy 2007). Traceability not only ensures food quality but builds consumers’ trust by making the supply chain more transparent (Bertolini, Bevilacqua, and Massini 2006). Increasing concerns about global food safety have positioned traceability as an important component of food safety and quality regulations, management systems, and certification processes. In recent years, stricter public standards and regulations for food safety have been accompanied by a growing set of standards developed by the private sector.
For example, private standards for particular attributes of food products might be higher and therefore perceived as more stringent or more extensive than public standards. Although food safety standards may be set nationally, World Trade Organization agreements on technical bar-riers to trade for testing, inspection and certification, and sanitary and phytosanitary matters form an international framework of agreements to prevent misuse of standards as barriers to trade. As mentioned, traceability is mandated by law in the EU and Japan (for specific commodities). The participation of developing countries in setting standards and assistance from developed countries in implementing them is particularly important. The partners developed the Fresh Food Trace web platform (figure 12.7), which automates and visualizes data for tracking mango production, conditioning, transport, and export (IICD 2008).
Systems for tracking products through supply chains range from paper-based records maintained by producers, processors, and suppliers to sophisticated ICT-based solutions. The costs associated with putting traceability systems into place are seen as barriers even among established actors and appear even more daunting to small-scale producers from less developed countries. RFID tags are still relatively expensive for widespread adoption in the supply chain compared with the much cheaper and more widely available barcodes (Sarma 2004). Smaller organizations and producers constrained for resources typically use pen and paper to record, store, and communicate data to partners in the supply chain. Because document-based systems take time and effort to query, they increase the time needed to locate the precise source, location, or details of a suspected contaminated product. Some organizations capture and store traceability data in their management information systems and other databases, such as ERP systems for inventory control, warehouse management, accounting, and asset management. Electronic data interchange systems allow vendors and business partners to exchange data such as GTINs and GLNs. Emerging trends in ICT, such as the use of cloud computing and SaaS (software as a service) solutions, have reduced the cost of owning ERP and database management solutions to capture, record, store, and share tra-ceability data.
Conventional methods of traceability through a chain of custody involve the use of barcodes and labels. Barcode solutions require a printing component to print barcodes on labels or products and a scanning technology to read barcoded information.
RFIDs offer promising capabilities for traceability in the developing and the developed world and are seen as an alternative to older barcode systems.
Products tagged with RFID may also be fed with data though an interface with wireless sensor networks. RFIDs have been used for unique animal identification, storage of data on breeding history, animal health, disease tracking, animal movement, and nutrient and yield management. The advantage of electronic traceability systems based on RFID is their staggering capacity to store data on product attributes.
The disadvantages of RFID solutions include their cost, complexity, and environmental sustainability (IFT 2009). Transformative technologies such as nano solutions are creating new pathways for food security and precision agriculture. Nano solutions can help increase farm sustainability while decreasing environmental impact. The potential impact of nano solutions on smallholder farmers and agricultural producers is beyond the scope of this module but merits research and discussion. While conventional methods of traceability work for labeling and tagging food products that are not genetically modified or engineered, DNA traceability offers a more precise form of traceability for animals and animal byproducts derived through biotechnology.
The authors gratefully acknowledge helpful comments and guidance received from colleagues Tuukka Castren, Aparajita Goyal, Steven Jaffee, Tim Kelly, Eija Pehu, and Madhavi Pillai of the World Bank, Andrew Baird of RTI, Steve Froggett of Froggett & Associates, Guillaume Gruere of IFPRI, and Lucy Scott Morales of EEI Communications. Modulo PrestaShop prodotto rinominare Entra Contattaci Contattaci subito: 09 72 19 85 01 Italia English Francais Espagnol Italia Allemand Turkce Czech Republic Indonesia Chinois Simplifie Arabic Russian Cerca Carrello 0 Prodotto Prodotti (vuoto) Nessun prodotto Da determinare Spedizione 0,00 € Totale I prezzi sono IVA esclusa Pagamento Prodotto aggiunto al tuo carrello Quantita Totale Ci sono 0 articoli nel tuo carrello. These containers are built to ISO standard dimensions and upgraded features such as a lock box and high locking gear. At the same time, escalating and heavily publicized outbreaks of foodborne diseases have raised awareness of the need to ensure food quality and safety. Small-scale farmers may lack the resources to comply with increasingly strict food safety standards, particularly traceability requirements. Economic literature from supply-chain management defines traceability as the information system necessary to provide the history of a product or a process from origin to point of final sale (Wilson and Clarke 1998, Jack, Pardoe, and Ritchie 1998, Timon and O’Reilly 1998). Food traceability sys-tems allow supply chain actors and regulatory authorities to identify the source of a food safety or quality problem and initiate procedures to remedy it. Simply knowing where a food product can be found in the supply chain does not improve food safety, but when traceability systems are combined with safety and quality management systems, they can make associated food safety measures more effective and efficient (CAC 2006). Similarly, the implementation of food safety management systems can support efficient, consistent traceability. Yet for small-scale farmers in developing countries, especially farmers producing horticultural and other fresh food products, traceability requirements can represent barriers to trade.
The proliferation of mobile devices, advances in communications, and greater affordability of nanotechnology offer potential for small-scale producers to implement traceability systems and connect to global markets. WHO estimates that 2.2 million people die from diarrheal diseases largely attributed to contaminated food and water (WHO (2007a).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that 48 million cases of foodborne illness occur each year in the United States, including 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths.5 The three primary avenues of contamination are production, processing, and shipping and handling. IPPM systems are important for providing information to consumers about the provenance of a product when the attributes may not be visible or detectable in the product.
Static data do not change, whereas dynamic data can change over time and through the chain of custody (Folinas, Manikas, and Manos 2006).
Information related to product tracing may be recorded and transmitted through management information systems or, in the case of smaller operations, paperwork such as invoices, purchase orders, and bills of lading. From 1997 to 2003, more than half of the List 1 countries recognized by the EU as having equivalent standards of hygiene in the capture, processing, transportation, and storage of fish and fish products were low- or middle-income countries. If an importing country has objectives or outcomes of its food inspection and certification system that cannot be met by an exporting country, the importing country should consider providing assistance to the exporting country, especially if it is a developing country.
The sections that follow provide examples of how food traceability systems have been implemented, particularly in low-income economies. Mobile technologies have not only alleviated asymmetries in the flow of information from the market to smallholders (Muto and Yamano 2009), but hold great potential for enabling the counterflow of information from small-scale producers to markets to meet traceability requirements (figure 12.2). Empowering Smallholder Farmers in Markets,6 a research project, found that international trader-led linkages can empower smallholders to supply high-quality, traceable produce and gain from quality-linked awards funded by the trader.
After harvest, fresh produce is handled and packed by a shipper or by a grower-shipper and exported or sold directly or through wholesalers and brokers to consumers, retailers, and food service establishments.
The Fresh Produce Terminal in South Africa tracks fruit into the warehouse and onto shipping vessels, deploying 250 vehicle-mounted computers and 100 mobile computers from Symbol Technologies (Parikh, Patel, and Schwartzman 2009).


Products such as grain, coffee, olive oil, rice, and milk from multiple farms are combined in silos and storage tanks, making it difficult to trace them back to their sources (IFT 2009). The coffee is sold to one of 35 cooperatives and transported to one of 15 warehouses, where tags are read by two RFID antennas on either side of a conveyor belt with 99.9 percent accuracy for data and delivery time. In Thailand, for example, exporters require farmers to provide product information regarding the farm, crop varieties, planting, irrigation, fertilizer application, insect or disease emergence, pesticides or chemicals used, harvest date, costs incurred, problems, and selling price (Manarungsan, Naewbanij, and Rerngjakrabhet 2005). Olive oil, a high-value food, is sometimes blended and sold by distributors and marketers, and traceability helps identify the source, method, variety, and farm where the crop was harvested, so it becomes easier for consumers to determine if the olive oil they are buying is genuine. For traceability, monitoring, and control, data about the farm of origin, processing plant, current location, and tem-perature are collected and made available to participants in the supply chain, including wholesalers, shippers, and retailers.
Some central markets also require suppliers and buyers to complete this form to enhance traceability. Botswana maintains one of the world’s largest livestock identification systems and had tagged 3 million cattle by 2008.
RFID tagging systems for livestock contain unique identification data and information on the animal’s location, sex, name of breeder, origin of livestock, and dates of movement. Korea introduced a full beef traceability system in 2008, in the wake of the BSE scare, to promptly identify food safety problems and ensure end-to-end traceability. The systems uses RFID ear tags for unique identification and a portable transceiver and data logger that transfers data to a farm computer or a central computer for farmers who do not have a personal computer. The technology is integrated with feeding machines to determine the correct amount of nutrition for individual animals. Beef is placed in refrigerated trucks and containers and sealed with a sensor bolt and a tag for identification. A pilot program executed through a public-private partnership with Savi Technology involved the application of RFIDs and sensor bolts to containers of chilled and frozen beef shipped from Namibia to the UK as part of the Smart and Secure Tradelanes initiative extended to African ports.
Cattle rustling threatens human security in East Africa, a region characterized by nomadic movements of people with livestock over vast and hostile terrain. Broadly speaking, the main challenges lie in data collection, processes, technological solutions, business models, costs, and learning.
For example, complying with record-keeping arrangements associated with food safety assurance through HACCP-based systems, with their detailed traceability systems, requires widespread education and cooperation throughout the supply chain (Unnevehr and Jensen 1999).
Developing-country farmers who are unable to meet traceability requirements run the risk of being marginalized. For example, the rise of supermarkets in Latin America, with their quality and safety procurement standards and associated record-keeping requirements, had a negative impact on smallholder participation, although some cases of success were noted where there was public or private technical assistance (Reardon and Berdegué 2002).
Unlike small-scale producers, large-scale producers and industry associations are better equipped to upgrade their operations in compliance with traceability standards; the added cost of record keeping is small compared with the potential financial damages of a product recall (Spencer 2010). Proprietary tracking systems allow tracing one step forward or back, but they rarely allow traceability through the full life cycle of a product. A study on traceability in the United States, undertaken by the International Institute of Food Technologies (IFT), found that challenges are related to both external and internal traceability.
Investments are often driven by regulation and access to markets, the long-term costs associated with public product recalls, the proliferation of certification systems and standards (Heyder, Hollmann-Hespos, and Theuvsen 2009), and pressure from influential external stakeholders such as retailers, consumers, lenders, and NGOs. It is worth exploring some of these incentives in detail, because they offer potential insights for preventing the adoption of systems that exclude smallholders.
Following reports of a Cyclospora outbreak, and in the absence of traceability capabilities, the United States Food and Drug Administration issued an import alert, denying all Guatemalan raspberries entry into the United States.
Some of these applications enable producers to earn price premiums for sustainable, certifiable, and identifiable specialty food products. With initial technical support, women belonging to a shea butter cooperative in Burkina Faso learned to use GPS to document the source of the shea fruit they processed and gain certification under Bio-Ecocert and Bio-NOP, which guarantee that a product is 100 percent natural and has been manufactured under conditions that respect human and environmental health.
Stringent food safety and traceability requirements trigger a new set of transaction costs for small-scale producers without adequate capital investment and public infrastructure (Pingali, Khwaja, and Meijer 2007; McCullough, Pingali, and Stamoulis 2008).
Although traceability implies an end-to-end process in the supply chain, only a few links in supply chains actually use software for traceability. Regulatory (mandatory) or nonregulatory (voluntary) public interventions are designed to provide consumers with basic food safety and provide information about the nature of the food. Private food safety standards, frequently characterized as surpassing requirements imposed through public standards, have emerged as a strategy to assure consumers that products meet a high level of regulatory compliance.
Private food safety standards do not fall under harmonized World Trade Organization guidelines. Until recently, extensive traceability was stipulated in the United States by the private sector for reasons including improved supply chain management, differentiation of products in the market, and product recall (Golan et al.
Traceability systems are by and large unidirectional, and exporting countries must accommodate different systems for verification and control from major importing countries. A key player in data standardization and open systems for product traceability is GS1, a global nonprofit organization with more than one million member organizations in 108 countries.
Growers log traceability data and product information on mangoes on mobile devices at every step (image 12.1), thereby offering complete traceability to end markets. Paper is still used as a cheaper option for traceability, although it limits the ability to record data accurately, store it, and query it to identify and trace products. Tags priced at less than US$ 0.01 apiece could offer lower-cost mass-market options for the technology. Businesses may also exchange information via ebXML (extensible markup language), which defines the structure of data and security for the transfer.
Bar-codes are commonly and recognizably used for inventory control management and global logistics of people and goods, such as air travel tickets or parcel shipping and delivery.
Barcodes can be scanned by an electronic reader to identify and interpret key data elements stored in the barcode. Barcode labels may also contain some information below the barcode to allow for human verification and cross-checking of data. This system uses 14-digit GTIN barcodes on individual items, boxes, and pallets, which can all be linked by product and producer or dis-tributor codes, allowing trace-back from the level of an individual item (Golan, Krisoff, and Kuchler 2004).
The European Article Numbering–Uniform Code Council standard has a set of 62 product attributes for barcodes to track input, production, and inventory along the supply chain, permitting open real-time updates of information to all systems in the network when producers enter new information in the system. Passive RFID tags use an initial signal from an RFID reader to scavenge power and store data on an event at a specific point in time. RFID-tagged animals are tracked from birth through slaughter to check and monitor disease, to meet the needs of global markets for safe meat, and to enable product recall. Nano materials may be used in smart packaging and in food handling to detect pathogens, gases, spoilage, and changing temperature and moisture. Investments in nano research and approaches to regulation continue in OECD countries such as Australia, Canada, EU member countries, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, and the United States, as well as non-OECD countries such as Brazil, China, India, Russia, and South Africa.
DNA traceability works on the principle that each animal is genetically unique and thus byproducts of the animal can be traced to its source by identifying its DNA (Loftus 2005). ShellCatch shifts the responsibility for daily monitoring of catch origin, including detection of extraction from legal catchment areas, from processing plants to harvesters—that is, artisanal fishers and divers. Thereby for example the session information or language setting are stored on your computer. This need drives much of the technological innovation to trace food consistently and efficiently from the point of origin to the point of consumption. Given the role of traceability in protecting consumers, ensuring food safety, and managing reputational risks and liability, it is vital to integrate and empower small-scale agricultural producers in the food supply chain through ICTs. While traceability in the food sector has focused increasingly on food safety (Smyth and Phillips 2002), agrifood and nonfood sectors such as forestry and textiles (particularly cotton) have instituted traceability requirements for product identification, differentiation, and historical monitoring.
For example, prerequisite programs such as good agricultural and management practices and the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) system include requirements for record keeping that can support requirements for traceability.
The market for safe and traceable food can exclude small-scale agricultural producers who lack the resources to comply with increasingly strict standards, particularly requirements for tracking and monitoring environmental and supply chain variables through sophisticated technologies. Mobile phones, radio frequency identification (RFID) systems, wireless sensor networks, and global positioning systems (GPS) make it possible to monitor environmental and location-based variables, communicate them to databases for analysis, and comply with food safety and traceability standards.
The global burden of foodborne illness caused by bacteria, viruses, parasitic microorganisms, pesticides, contaminants (including toxins), and other food safety problems is unknown but thought to be considerable (Kuchenmüller et al.
In light of global food safety concerns, the WHO Global Strategy for Food Safety, endorsed in January 2002 by the WHO Executive Board, outlined a preventive approach to food safety, with increased surveillance and more rapid response to foodborne outbreaks and contamination incidents (WHO 2002).
Food contamination may occur at the farm, during processing or distribution, in transit, at retail or food service establishments, or at home. Traceability data may also be captured directly from products such as fresh produce, seafood, and livestock. Their participation in markets typically is constrained by inadequate farm-level resources, farm-to-market logistical bottlenecks, and more general transaction costs in matching and aggregating dispersed supplies to meet buyer and consumer demand. Assistance may include longer time frames for implementation, flexibility of design, and technical assistance (CAC 2006).
For example, farmers may use a mobile device to input information on the variety grown, planting and harvest dates, and use of farming inputs. For example, Italian coffee roaster Illycaffè increased its procurement of superior Brazilian green coffee from smallholders by investing significantly in quality assurance training and market information for smallholders. Traceability systems track fresh produce along the supply chain to identify sources of contamination, monitor cold chain logistics, and enhance quality assurance. Pallets are tagged to monitor temperature during transport, and should the temperature rise above standard levels, pallets are put back into cold storage by quality inspectors at the harbor.
Tags are read at each step of the process, and if the coffee does not meet quality standards, it is rejected and the database is updated.
Figure 12.3 shows traceability activities carried out along the supply chain for green soybeans, from farmer to broker to processor. In North Africa, a combination of GPS, mobile devices, electronic security bolts, and sensors are used for end-to-end, real-time monitoring of perishable olive oil shipments from Spain and Morocco by Transmed Foods, Inc., the United States distribution arm of Crespo Foods, and Savi Technologies (Savi Technology 2009). If a problem arises, this information enables a targeted market recall and limits the impact on consumers.
Registering for traceability gives cooperative members access to laboratory test services, training, and information and experience sharing through networking. Botswana’s livestock identification and trace-back system uses RFID technology to uniquely identify livestock throughout the country. Handheld readers are used to register vaccination information and dates; the data are relayed to a central database. The RFID chip sends data about the animal’s feeding habits, dietary needs, and other information to a sensor on the farm. In March 2009, Namibia issued new animal identification regulations, which required livestock producers to identify cattle with one visual ear tag and one RFID ear tag. To understand traceability applications for fresh produce and horticultural products, bulk produce, seafood, and livestock, small-scale producers will need to master a considerable range of skills and information.
The questions that remain, then, are who pays for the cost of implementing food traceability systems, particularly in the case of smallholders, and how sustainable those systems can be in the long run. Organizations in a value chain may be reluctant to share proprietary commercial data about a product, with the exception of requirements for recalls. External traceability requires accurate recording and storage of information on products and ingredients coming into a facility and information on products leaving a facility.
Japanese farms, unlike those in most developed countries, are small but advanced with respect to traceability, a situation that could lend itself well to sharing experiences with small-scale farmers in developing countries (Setboonsarng, Sakai, and Vancura 2009).
Among smallholders, clearly the benefits of establishing or investing in traceability systems should be balanced in relation to the associated costs, with considerations for the long-term sustainability of those investments.
The Almacafe model, discussed earlier, enables smallholders to command a 200 percent premium for specialty coffee from unique regions in Colombia—strong motivation for farmers to adopt traceability technologies.
Certification enabled them to enter more lucrative export markets—despite the fact they that are small-scale, predominantly illiterate producers. Studies suggest that consumers in developed countries may be willing to pay more for safe and traceable food.
Many organizations exchange data manually (Senneset, Forås, and Fremme 2007), especially smaller-scale operations, which tend to record traceability data on paper. Public-sector interventions usually take the form of product or process standards but also comprise analytical procedures, inspection and certification systems, and the provision of public information. Examples include standards dealing with social and environmental goals (fair trade, sustainably harvested products), as well as geographical indications and certification marks, which are generally applied to differentiate products (often as part of a marketing, branding strategy, or sustainable development strategy). Their legitimacy and transparency are the subject of intense debate owing to their proliferation, prescriptive nature, potential to undermine public food safety, and potential economic development impacts, particularly for small-scale producers in developing countries. The GS1 Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) and Global Location Number (GLN) are assigned to identify the product and location. Previously, Malian mango growers relied on importers in global markets who did not bear the risk associated with transporting perishable produce, and the market system had not yet earned a reputation for high-quality produce in export markets. Importers, retailers, and customers are willing to pay US$ 0.09 more per pound for individual farm sourcing and compliance with food safety standards (Annerose 2010). Table 12.4 describes some aspects of how traceability is used in agricultural and agrifood systems. Digital databases for traceability are seen as more expensive to implement, operate, and maintain, requiring investments in hardware and software, skilled human resources, training, and certification. Commercialization of advances such as those driven by nanotechnology may also push prices down by enabling RFID tags to be printed on paper or labels (Harrop 2008). Document-based systems, whether physical or electronic, store data in an unstructured form. They also have drawbacks related to illegible handwriting and human transposition errors when data are transferred from manual to database systems.


The advantage of capturing product traceability data in structured database systems is the ability to rapidly and precisely query data elements to isolate the source and location of products that may be contaminated.
Database solutions such as ERPs may be supplemented by web-based portals for data input and data exchange with business partners in the supply chain. Studies of RFID applications summarized in Nambiar (2009) identify challenges such as a lack of expertise, resistance to change, lack of systems integration (Attaran 2009), inconsistent information, lack of supporting tools for implementation (Battini et al.
Traceability requirements for food safety may present a lower-risk, higher-benefit area for the application of nano solutions. Encapsulation and controlled-release methods are used to deliver doses of pesticide and herbicide.
Figure 12.8 depicts the use and convergence of information, communication, electronics, and nanotechnologies to enable information to flow from farmers to markets.
GPS-equipped fishing boats transmit data on origin of catch to a Transdata center in Santiago to monitor fishing from legal fishing areas. The areas of animal identification, disease prevention and control, nutrient management, production safety, and certification for export all include practices that contribute to the efficacy of traceability systems.
In the context of food safety and smallholders’ participation in global markets, this module explores incentives for investing in traceability systems and the prospects for traceability to empower small-scale producers in the value chain. This approach substantially expands the ability to protect food supplies from natural and accidental threats and provides a framework for addressing terrorist threats to food (WHO 2008). This module also touches on the role of ICTs in animal identification, a prerequisite for implementing livestock traceability in the meat and dairy sectors. Segregation systems are used to prevent the mixing of novel varieties in the handling of like varieties or to discourage the mixing of a segregated product with like products if potential food safety concerns exist. Fundamentally, traceability systems involve the unique identification of food products and the documentation of their transformation through the chain of custody to facilitate supply chain tracking, management, and detection of possible sources of failure in food safety or quality. Data captured in critical tracking events are vital to linking products, both simple and complex, within a facility and across the supply chain (IFT 2009). In recent years, a variety of traceability systems have been implemented in the developing world, including systems for fresh fruit, vegetables, grain, oilseeds, bulk foods, seafood, fish, and livestock (Click here for Table 12.2). Data captured by smallholders can be integrated with information systems and centralized databases to provide greater transparency to supply chain partners and consumers on the farming process, inputs, and output. The company has won competitions and awards for best growers and for commanding above-market prices for the product (Onumah et al. Its subsidiary, Almacafe, which handles warehousing, quality control, and logistics, implemented a traceability system using RFID tags in 2007 for specialty coffee for its internal supply chain, from farms to warehouses and during processing, bagging, roasting, and trading for export. In 2008, the federation extended its program with a pilot to help adapt its traceability model to the Tanzanian coffee supply chain. In another example, an IFC project to improve the competitiveness and export prospects for West Bank olive oil assists small and medium-size enterprises in implementing a basic traceability program to maintain quality, including managing data related to the sources of oil, pressing, handling, storage, and packing operations.
Seafood traceability is implemented to comply with the EU’s zero tolerance of residues of banned antibiotics (chloramphenicol and nitrofuran). The system enables access to lucrative markets in the European Union, where traceability is a requirement for beef from birth to slaughter. Markers recommended by the International Society for Animal Genetics are used for verification (Bowling et al. The data are stored in central databases and analyzed by farm managers and supervisors to monitor the animals’ health and nutritional mix.
At key points in the supply chain, such as when the beef is unloaded after it has been shipped from the port, the tag is read with a mobile reader to check for evidence of tampering prior to unloading, and tag data are stored in supply chain databases.
Cattle must be individually registered in the Namibian Livestock Identification and Traceability System. This requirement frequently proves problematic, because industry partners in a food supply chain may not consistently record and store the lot number of the incoming product or case. It could provide insights into the most effective ways to implement traceability systems and the internal and external capacities and resources needed for smallholders to upgrade successfully and comply with safety and traceability requirements. Producers around the world noted the devastating effects of the ensuing trade restrictions on the entire industry and the role traceability systems could have played in reassuring the public and containing the problem to a few growers (Calvin, Flores, and Foster 2003).
Some studies have found that the introduction of safety standards associated with traceability requirements may lead smallholder farmers to switch to products with fewer transaction costs.
Food safety standards cover a wide range of parameters, including harmful substances in food (additives, pesticide residues, veterinary drug residues, and other contaminants) and residues in animal feed. Many of the difficulties that small-scale producers reportedly encounter in applying private food safety standards relate to traceability, which is an area in which private food safety standards exceed Codex recommendations (CAC 2010).
With the passage of food safety regulations HR2749 and S.510, the United States has strengthened record keeping and traceability requirements. The GTIN has two components—a product identification code and a company prefix, assigned by GS1. The traceability system also serves to enhance the market’s reputation for supplying safe and traceable Malian mangoes sourced directly from smallholders. RFID in its current form is a microchip and could prove cheaper (and easier to use) in nano form.
Searching through paper records is done by physically browsing through papers that are at best categorized and filed in shelving space.
ERP systems such as SAP can read standardized data from barcodes and RFIDs, including GTINs and GLNs. In legacy systems and custom solutions, data used to identify products may not follow traceability data standards such as product lot number. The GTIN uses a 14-digit barcode with information about companies, products, and product attributes worldwide, which can be read upstream and downstream through a supply chain. Grain-sized RFID tags or transponders incorporated as particles or attached as labels to food products can identify the food item and become connected to the Internet as uniquely identified nodes.
RFID readers to read data from RFID tags may be integrated as an application on a mobile device.
2009), and integration difficulties as a result of the proliferation of RFID readers (Floerkemeier and Fleisch 2008). Particle farming yields nanoparticles for industrial use by growing plants in specific types of soil (one example is the harvesting of gold particles from alfalfa plants grown in gold-rich soil). When the catch is brought to port, a ticketing system cross-checks the origin of the catch via GPS data transmitted from the boats, then weighs, certifies, and labels bags of catch with traceability data in a barcode label. It includes detailed information on standards, technical solutions, and innovative practices. Traceability systems, on the other hand, allow sources of contamination in the supply chain to be identified (Smyth and Phillips 2002), which enables a transparent chain of custody, raises credibility, and makes it possible to transfer information on the steps taken to alleviate food safety concerns (McKean 2001).
Food traceability systems and definitions in standards, laws, and regulations are broadly conceptualized to permit producers to determine the breadth, depth, and precision of systems based on specific objectives (Golan et al. Wireless sensors may transmit data on temperature, spoilage, or location to RFIDs tagged to products. Aside from the examples in the table, Korea has implemented systems for agricultural product tracing, and Jordan has established a framework for product tracing and uses a national digital database to track and investigate product and disease movement (Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan 2004). The integration of wireless sensor networks, RFIDs, and mobile technology could yield sophisticated means to capture data during farming and minimize the need for manual data input through mobile devices. Although barcodes were considered first, RFID tags were eventually used because barcodes require line of sight and clear labels to be read, which might have been a problem, considering that coffee sacks weigh more than 40 kilograms and tend to be thrown around. Marine Stewardship Council certification7 requires shrimp farmers to notify the Department of Fisheries five days before harvesting, to facilitate tracing shrimp back to their origin (Manarungsan, Naewbanij, and Rerngjakrabhet 2005). A bolus inserted into the animal’s rumen contains a passive RFID (it has no battery or moving parts) microchip with a very hard ceramic coating, which does not interact with stomach enzymes or acids. Namibia has also set up a veterinary fence to avoid contamination: Cattle from northern Namibia cannot be exported and must be consumed locally, and cattle from southern Namibia are protected from diseases and exported to Europe. Traditional methods of identifying cattle are harmonized with technologically advanced approaches for unique identification, tracking, and recovery of stolen animals. For internal traceability, data on ingredients and products that may undergo transformation within a facility must be tracked. Finally, traceability technologies implemented specifically for high-value crops may also expand smallholders’ ability to reach key markets. 2008) found that consumers were willing to pay a premium for traceable food and to purchase it in greater quantities.
There are multiple, globally recognized standards but no standard nomenclature to describe how the data should look or be organized, and software applications vary.
Process standards, establishing how food is produced, prepared, treated, and sold, include standards for genetically modified organisms (GMOs), food hygiene, labeling, packaging, and requirements on traceability. GLNs usually are assigned to a company, which then assigns a unique GLN for each of its facilities. The following sections review the technologies that may be used in a variety of contexts in developing countries, depending on the associated costs and business models employed. Searching through electronic documents requires users to locate the document and then perform full text or metadata searches within it. In practice, the implementation of RFID technologies is hampered by problems with tag detection, tag coverage, and reader collision (Carbunar et al.
Current technologies to detect pathogens in food require considerable time, money, and effort. Nano solutions such as NanoCeram (2 nanometer diameter aluminum oxide nanofibers developed by Argonide in the United States) filter viruses, bacteria, and protozoan cysts from groundwater.
After ticketing, the certified catch is sent to processing plants and on to domestic and international markets for consumption. Unsafe food can be recalled because information on all possible sources and supplies of contaminated food can be traced one step forward, one step back, or end to end.
The decline caused the Thai private and public sectors to tighten sanitary measures on chemical antibiotic residues in shrimp and adopt probiotic farming techniques, disease-resistant shrimp, and laboratory diagnostics and testing. Fixed readers placed at 300 locations scan the bolus of every animal in the herd to obtain identification numbers, information on new registrations, and the status of disease treatments in the herd. Namibia also sources non-genetically modified (GM) maize from South Africa at a premium to ensure that beef sold in Europe is considered non-GM. Livestock tags may be queried remotely using the Internet, SMS, and wireless communication through mobile phones to track and monitor animals.
In some cases, there may be confusion in the assignment of new lot numbers for products that do not match the incoming lot number for products that enter a facility and undergo transformation. A consumer preferences study of traceability, transparency, and assurances for red meat in the United States suggests that consumers are willing to pay for traceability and that the market there for traceable food may be profitable (Dickinson and Bailey 2002). Product traceability recorded through such an ecosystem-based solution may range from data on logistics and postharvest practices surrounding the trees of the small-scale producer right up to the table of the end consumer (Ampatzidis et al. Altairnano is working on Nanocheck (which contains lanthanum nanoparticles) to absorb phosphates from aqueous environments such as fish ponds. Farmers and cooperatives must register to facilitate traceability, and quality management systems have been implemented to isolate quality and safety issues along the value chain. Although traceability systems tend to be unidirectional, consumers in domestic markets in the developing world may also benefit from their countries’ adoption of traceability techniques and systems. The variety of traceability software in use makes data integration difficult (Bechini et al. Other technological hurdles include protecting the privacy and security of data stored on the RFID tag from unauthorized access and tampering (Langheinrich et al. Research at the Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology shows that nanoscale iron oxide particles are effective at binding with and removing arsenic from groundwater (Joseph and Morrison 2006). Figure 12.1 illustrates these concepts for the attributes of interest in the stages of coffee production. The Department of Fisheries has been working with farmers to introduce GAP (Good Agricultural Practice), a code of conduct for sustainable shrimp aquaculture, and HACCP standards and to improve product documentation and traceability. Aside from traceability, the tagging system enables weight and feed to be monitored, yield to be managed, breeding history tracked, and animals selected for breeding (Burger 2003). Paperwork is often inconsistent or incomplete, individual products or lots may not be labeled with unique identifiers, and standardized definitions for data elements may be lacking (IFT 2009). The United Nations Standard Product and Services Code (UNSPSC) is a global classification system for information on products and services, including food products.
Lower costs per device, nanotechnology advances that permit greater storage and smaller size, increased ruggedness in extreme temperatures and moisture, and rapid growth in wireless cellular network and device availability have led smaller producers in developing countries to use RFIDs, GPS, GIS, wireless sensor networks, and mobile phones to implement traceability systems, paving the way for connectivity to global markets. An array of embedded nanosensors in the electronic tongue detect the presence of pathogens in packaged food and change the color of the tongue to signal spoilage to consumers. A unified approach to traceability across supply chains would promote rapid and seamless traceability, including web-based, open, and interoperable standards for end-to-end tracking systems.
The EU Good Food Project has developed a portable nanosensor to detect chemicals, pathogens, and toxins in food at the farm and slaughterhouse and during transport, processing, and packaging.
Nanotechnologies are also enabling the production of cheaper and more efficient nanoscale RFIDs for tracking and monitoring food through the supply chain for traceability (Joseph and Morrison 2006).
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