The Implementation Of Gs1 Standards In Customs
Food Traceability And Visibility
The Implementation Of Gs1 Standards In Customs
ماهنامه شماره5(دی ماه 1394)
Counterfeiting is a growing problem worldwide. As products arrive at international borders, Customs officers are confronted with how to best detect and seize counterfeit products and how to facilitate the clearance of genuine ones.
Customs organisations are increasingly focused on supply chain efficiency and security and GS1 standards can help border protection agencies achieve their priorities by building local understanding of GS1 standards and integrating globally standardized logistical information into government product admission systems.
The World Customs Organization (WCO) is an intergovernmental organization, with competence in Customs matters, comprised of 179 Customs administrations that provides leadership, guidance and support to its members to secure and facilitate legitimate trade, realize revenues, protect society and build capacity. As Customs administrations are responsible for protecting national borders from the illegal flow of counterfeit and pirated goods, the WCO leads discussions on global efforts to fight such crimes.
GS1 and the WCO have a long-standing relationship and have cooperated on a number of mutually beneficial Customs related issues, underpinned by the Memorandum of Understanding that was signed between the two organizations in November 2007.
2- World Customs Organization: enhancing security and facilitating global trade
The World Customs Organization (WCO) is responsible for processing about 99% of global trade as it travels across borders.
Previously mainly concerned with collecting duties and taxes, across the past several years the WCO and national Customs administrations have put a high priority on enhancing security of global supply chains and facilitating global trade. A number of policy initiatives, agreements and guidelines have been created in order to better meet the challenges of today’s borders, including the SAFE Framework of Standards, the Kyoto Convention, the Data Model, the “Single Window” concept and others.
The SAFE Framework, for example, is a global supply chain security initiative developed by WCO-member Customs administrations and the international trade community. It details the principles of Customs operations of today and tomorrow, which include:
the harmonization of electronic cargo information,
consistent risk management,
non-intrusive inspection of cargo when reasonably requested,
a “partnership” attitude toward the businesses with which Customs administrations interact.
The WCO plans to achieve these objectives through a two-pillar approach: Customs-to-Customs network arrangements, and Customs-to-Business partnerships.
3- GS1 Standards in the context of safe and efficient trade
GS1 is a neutral, not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the design and implementation of global standards and solutions to improve the efficiency and visibility of supply and demand chains globally and across sectors. GS1 is presented in 112 countries, and operates in more than 20 industries.
GS1 Standards include an array of Identification (ID) Keys: special numbering systems used by tens of thousands of manufacturers, producers, retailers, logistics companies and other businesses around the world. GS1 ID Keys help clearly identify items, locations, and logistics units; and connect these physical things and logical things to information or business messages related to them.
GS1 Standards can contribute to Customs’ role to secure the trade supply chain, protect society, facilitate international trade, and increase the efficiency and predictability of Customs procedures at national borders.
GS1 Standards can provide Customs organisations in every country of the world with the time-tested and widely-used solutions that will help them achieve safe and secure borders and enable them to work even better with each other and in partnership with businesses.
3-1- GS1 can help make Customs operations safer and more efficient
The work GS1 and the WCO have done together so far has clearly demonstrated that many of the challenges faced by Customs organisations in every country in the world can be met by using GS1 Standards.
GS1 Standards are global, proven, and time-tested. The GS1 System of Standards is, in fact, the most widely implemented supply chain standards system in the world. For over thirty years, more than one million companies representing dozens of sectors and industries doing business worldwide have trusted our user-driven approach to collaborative work.
GS1 Standards are neutral and non-proprietary. So-called “standards” that are proposed by ‘for-profit’ companies may hide a strategy to lock customers into proprietary technology, if only to generate ongoing revenues.
GS1 Standards are already widely used by the most well-known manufacturers, retailers, and logistics firms – the same companies that the WCO is identifying at its Authorised Economic Operators (AEOs). In other words, our biggest users are also your biggest users.
GS1 Identification Keys such as the GSIN are allocated to transport units early in the supply chain process, usually right after manufacturing or during the packaging process; as a result they can serve as the “passport” of a shipment, identifying a transport unit during its entire life cycle.
GS1 Standards are entirely bearer-independent and will work with both barcodes and RFID tags.
GS1 Standards create the possibility of a simple and immediate “single window”. With standardised data, one submission (e.g.: Customs declaration) can smoothly and easily be accessed by many parties (e.g.: ministry of agriculture, tax & duties department…).
Using GS1 Standards across the end-to-end transit of a logistics item contributes to safe and secure border protection by providing quick and easy access to all data related to shipment via a single reference.
Using GS1 Standards can contribute to greatly reduced costs by simplifying internal procedures, eliminating duplicate data submissions and significantly reducing the need for manual data entry – and thus reducing labour and the risk of human error.
GS1 Standards open the door to a wide variety of traceability applications, which themselves contribute to border security and anti-fraud applications.
3-2- What does the GS1 System include?
As a not-for-profit organization, GS1’s role consists in leading communities to develop solutions benefiting all parties. More specifically:
• Identification refers to GS1 standards enabling to identify products, services, physical and legal entities, assets, logistics units, etc. It includes the GS1 system keys (GTIN, SSCC, GLN, etc) and the standard definitions of attributes. It also includes the classification systems (GPC, UNSPSC). An essential element of Identification is the global uniqueness management that GS1 provides.
• Communications refers to EDI standards called GS1 eCom based on UN/EDIFACT and on XML. They provide a comprehensive set of standard business transactions that can be exchanged electronically between computer applications of different parties. These exchanges are typically done in batch mode.
• Visibility refers to the EPCglobal vision of providing access to information related to events occurring to objects as they move through the supply chain. The core standard supporting this vision is EPCIS (EPC Information Services). It will enable accessing data from multiple companies in real time or in batch mode.
4- Cooperations between GS1 and WCO
GS1 has a long-time working relationship with the WCO since both organisations are committed to enabling a secure, efficient global supply chain.
We can see a list of their collaboration below.
Figure 1- List of collaboration between GS1 and WCO
4-1- Unique Consignment Reference (UCR)
In 2004, the World Customs Organization (WCO) adopted the Unique Consignment Reference, or UCR, as the reference number specifically for Customs use. The UCR was developed to facilitate international trade and to provide Customs with a means for effective risk assessment and audit-based controls. A UCR must align with the requirements of ISO 15459, called “License Plate” or an equivalent proprietary number.
A UCR may be required for any international movements of goods for which Customs control is required. It should be used in all relevant communications, as an access key for audit, consignment tracking and information, or for reconciliation purposes. UCR numbers are unique at both national and international levels. A UCR number must be issued as early as possible in the supply chain, and may be required to be reported to Customs at any point.
The results were very conclusive in demonstrating that the GS1 SSCC can be used as an “electronic staple,” linking all key elements in the supply chain and enabling appropriate information on the movement of goods cross-border to be submitted to Customs administrations.
It was quite clear that using a GS1 ID Key as the WCO’s UCR provided exporters, carriers, Customs agencies, and importers with better predictability of information, enhanced security, reduced compliance costs and overall improved traceability in international supply chains. Furthermore, pilot participants noted that extending the use of an already-existing standard from GS1 to the Customs area is both easier and more sensible than the creation and management of a new numbering sequence.
Perhaps most importantly, the project showed that Customs and trade can successfully work together to find solutions to issues concerning security and trade facilitation. It was clear from this pioneering collaborative work that wider use of GS1 Standards by Customs organisations around the world will greatly facilitate trade.
4-2- SSCC as a UCR Pilot Project
In 2005-2006, a high-level proof of concept project was under way to study the use of the GS1 Serial Shipping Container Code (SSCC) as a UCR number in supply chain between the United Kingdom and Australia. The two companies participating in the pilot, Constellation and Diageo, use the GS1 SSCC in their manufacturing and distribution processes. For this project, they have extended its use to international transactions such as commercial ordering, shipping documentation, and the legally mandated declarations to the Customs authorities of the UK and Australia. The objective was to demonstrate the use of SSCC as UCR for Customs purposes and to test and prove the benefits of SSCC as a UCR used by supply chain participants. The project expects to show that the GS1 SSCC can serve as a perfectly suitable UCR for Customs agencies and for supply chain participants, offering benefits for all.
Figure 2- process flow and points of SSCC-UCR in the international supply chain
4-3- From SSCC to GSIN
One immediate result of the agreement between GS1 and the WCO was the adaptation of an existing GS1 Identification Key to create the Global Shipment Identification Number (GSIN), specifically made for the identification of shipments in international trade and Customs.
The pilot project demonstrated that the GS1 SSCC can identify any individual transport unit travelling from origin to destination in a unique and unambiguous manner. However, it also showed that this level of identification is too detailed for today’s Customs operations, which day after day process thousands of national and international transactions, most composed of multiple transport units containing a number of containers, pallets, and more, all travelling under one single purchase order.
In light of this learning, the GS1 teams, faithful to their mission of working not for profit but for the benefit of the community, propose the GS1 GSIN to identify such grouped transport units travelling under one commercial order. The GS1 GSIN is, as a result, perfectly suited to the needs of Customs organisations.
4-4- Memorandum of Understanding
In November 2007, the World Customs Organization and GS1 signed a Memorandum of Understanding in recognition of the wide range of business interests shared by the two organisations and to provide a framework for further cooperation. The two organisations agreed to cooperate and maintain a systematic exchange of information on matters of interest which will include the designation of contact persons to facilitate efficient cooperation, reciprocal invitations to meetings of common interest, joint training activities, exchange of experts, and support for initiatives that continue to harmonize standards in the Customs sector.
4-5- WCO/GS1 cooperation agreement to fight counterfeiting
GS1 and WCO signed a cooperation agreement on 4 September 2012 aimed at exploring ways to optimize the fight against counterfeiting and piracy.
The WCO and GS1 have agreed to maintain a continuous working relationship on all Customs related matters, particularly by leveraging the use of WCO tools and GS1 identification standards, as part of international efforts to tackle the illicit trade in counterfeit and pirated goods.
The Interface Public-Members (IPM) tool was launched by the WCO in 2010 to enhance communication between Customs and rights holders, facilitate the sharing of information, and strengthen the capacity of Customs officials to better combat counterfeiting and piracy.
GS1 standards enable the unique and unambiguous identification of items which leads to reduced costs and increased security, both vital benefits for Customs and business in the 21st century international trading environment.
Through the cooperation agreement, the WCO and GS1 aim to achieve the following common objectives:
• Identify potential joint projects and concrete measures to promote and facilitate the use of GS1 global identification and traceability standards in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy by customs and other law enforcement agencies.
• Design, implement and deploy a new IPM functionality based on GS1 Identification Numbers that will enable counterfeit products to be identified, including identification using mobile devices.
• Conduct a two-year pilot, with the cooperation of interested WCO Members, on the use of GS1 identification standards by customs and other law enforcement agencies to capture coded data, including via mobile devices, in order to help identify potential counterfeits.
4-6- WHAT is IPM (Interface Public-Members)?
IPM (Interface Public-Members) is the WCO anti-counterfeiting tool. It enables Right Holders to give Customs officers direct access to information that would assist them in the detection of counterfeit goods.
• A database of product information (photos, packaging, routes, etc.) provided by Right Holders;
• A Web-based interface accessible via Customs’ intranet allowing officers to consult the Rights Holders database.
By accessing key specific elements about the product they inspect on the ground, Customs officers are able to quickly detect counterfeit goods. IPM also enables officers to contact concerned Rights Holders immediately in order to verify their suspicions and initiate follow-up legal action.
4-6-1- How will WCOs IPM tool and GS1 standards fit together?
1. Right Holders upload valuable product information to the IPM database;
2. Customs officer scans the GTIN of the product he/she inspects;
3. Customs officer accesses authentication data from IPM and registered product Identity information from GS1 services (which product? what is it?)
Figure 3- WCOs IPM tool and GS1 standards
4-6-2- Why will IPM integrate GS1 standards?
• GS1 Identification numbers will extend product range and data availability in IPM improving Customs capacities to detect counterfeit products – IPM will benefit from the identification of items used today by millions of companies across dozens of industry sectors.
• GS1 Automatic Data Capture standards will help Customs officers to use IPM by scanning the product identifier to access authentication data seamlessly – inspecting a product will be as easy as a checkout in a supermarket!
• GS1 Communication standards will enable automatic and real-time data input to IPM from Right Holders and will provide the foundation for sharing this data with Customs partners.
5- Case studies
Some successful case studies that have been implemented in different countries to improve their Customs procedures are discussed in the following.
5-1- Taiwan Customs first in the world to have its own EPCIS system
To improve the safety of container transport and the efficiency of customs processes, the Directorate General of Customs of Taiwan, R.O.C. has deployed EPC/RFID systems at the main ports. In line with global standards, Taiwan customs is implementing an EPCIS compliant system which will read the EPCglobal Gen2 compliance e-Seals to collect and exchange customs information.
GS1 Taiwan maintains a close relationship with the Taiwan government, and after long discussions has convinced Taiwan Customs to adopt EPCIS. The use of EPCglobal Gen2 compliant e-Seal had reduced escort time by at least 6,000 hours per year. Accordingly Taiwan Customs has its own EPCIS system and plans an intra-Asia pilot to demonstrate the benefits of this project. At present Malaysia is showing great interest and has completed initial discussions with Taiwan Customs. Taiwan Customs has used EPC/RFID in port management for the last 2 years under the project “In-transit Container Escort Exemption Program at the Port of Kaohsiung”.
To advance this implementation and extend it as open system, Taiwan Customs decided to implement an independent EPCIS system for monitoring container safety. It is expected to create the cross-border involvement and integrate customs information among different countries.
Directorate General of Customs indicated that criminal activities within container transport has impacted container transportation security for a long time. Given the needs of anti-terrorism and customs efficiency improvement, we consider the deployment of EPC/RFID extremely urgent and it can also comply with WCO Framework of Standards to Secure and Facilitate the Global Trade.
Moreover, the Customs Act in Taiwan was amended to legislate that four international ports in Taiwan adopt this EPC/RFID solution in escort operations. Besides the Port of Kaohsiung, the Port of Taichung will also introduce the same system for the first time in 2010. The Port of Taipei and the Port of Keelung will be deployed next. The objectives of this policy are customs efficiency improvement, container transport security, escort cost reduction and the expansion of this system to border management.
Malaysian representatives have visited Taiwan and witnessed the successful EPC/RFID adoption at the Port of Kaohsiung. They discussed the possibility for the two countries to conduct a pilot test. Malaysian representatives showed their great interest in doing this. Taiwan Customs looks forward to a new opportunity to enhance bilateral economic relations, share the global business opportunities and create a win-win situation.
5-2- Malaysia: 50 percent reduction on time taken for customs clearance
Smartag Solutions Bhd (Smartag), a solutions and service provider of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology based in Malaysia, has built the Secured Trade Facilitation System, which is being deployed in Royal Malaysian Customs’ checkpoints nationwide. Smartag has received the thumbs-up from several international and local logistics players who had participated in its initial trial run, where participants were able to achieve a 50 percent reduction on time taken for customs clearance, contributing to significant cost savings.
The Secured Trade Facilitation System features RFID seals (Electronic Seal) which were developed by Smartag. In addition to providing security to the shipments, the System expedites movement of container and lock vans automatically in between Customs checkpoints. It also provides paperless auto-identification of containers and vans.
Since 2008, Smartag has been working with regional port operators and Customs authorities on RFID solutions for security and trade facilitations.
The Security and Trade Facilitation System using RFID project was launched in Penang on the end of September 2011. The System was first conceptualized and presented to Malaysia’s National Key Economic Area (NKEA) Electronic and Electrical Steering Committee just about a year ago. The committee is chaired by Malaysia’s Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation Yang Berhormat Datuk Seri Panglima Dr. Maximus Ongkili. In January 2011, the System was approved by the country’s Economic Council chaired by the Prime Minister Yang Amat Berhormat Dato’ Sri Najib Tun Razak as an Entry Point Project under the Malaysia’s Economic Transformation Programme (the Project). The Project became one of the 12 initiatives announced by Prime Minister during the fifth Economic Transformation Program’s update in April 2011.
Subsequently a 3-month trial period was conducted from June to August 2011 in Royal Malaysian Customs facilities. Prior to the trial run, a series of seminars and industrial outreach programs were carried out nationwide to raise the awareness on the rationale behind the project and how each stakeholder can participate and integrate with the new RFID facilitation system.
Smartag Secured Trade Facilitation System was designed and built closely following the ISO 18186:2010 standard that integrated with Smartag’s Smartrack™ EPCIS. Whereas Smartag’s Smartrack™ EPCIS is built according to EPCglobal’s EPCIS standards. Smartrack™ EPCIS was awarded with EPCglobal Software Certification Mark on December 28, 2010. It is the first in Asia, and the second in the world to pass all the nine conformance test branches conducted by MET Laboratories.
The RFID seal and EPCIS components form a larger cross-border customs system. Figure 1 below shows the information flow in the cross-border system. Smartrack™ EPCIS serves as the linkage between information systems for customs departments of the two countries. When the RFID sealed containers move, the data is captured by the readers and sent to the RFID Security and Control Server. The data is stored in the EPCIS as well as the customs’ internal information system. When the containers moved across the border and arrived at the customs of the destination country, the data is capture and stored in the customs’ EPCIS. With EPCIS serving as a bridge, the customs information systems are able to query each other’s event data. The EPCIS events data include events of RFID seals commissioning, container transits and movements along the logistic routes.
Figure 4- RFID Seal Cross-border System using EPCIS
5-3- Hungarian Customs heading for eCom
Professional cooperation between GS1 Hungary and the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Water Management in the field of waste management began in 2002. First it focused on the issues of identifying packaging assets and components. As a part of this, GS1 Hungary examined in which cases it is possible, reasonable and necessary to identify packaging assets and components with the help of GS1 standards. As a second step towards cooperation GS1 Hungary made an expert study which contained the comparative analysis of the terms, tasks and commitments included in the Hungarian laws on environmental product fee and waste management, and in the EU directives related to waste management. The purpose of this study was to establish the basis of a data service and registering system, built on GS1 standards.
As result of successful cooperation, GS1 Hungary has started the development of Electronic Hungarian Waste Management System, e-HWM system. The e-HWM system is an informatical system based on organization identification by GLN and product identification by GTIN, which provides solution to business organizations, organizations coordinating waste management and organizations related to state administration in terms of complying with the administrative obligations specified by both EU and Hungarian laws on waste management and environmental product fee. The Ministry has been using the e-HWM system since 2003.
5-3-1- Cooperation with Customs Authority
In 2008 significant changes were made in the laws related to environmental product fee: declaration, payment and refund of environmental product fee and the related control involving waste management obligations came under the scope of the Hungarian Customs Authorities. These modifications also concerned the e-HWM system developed and operated by GS1 Hungary, and used by the Ministry. The Ministry asked GS1 Hungary to transform and improve the e-HWM system, which is enabled to provide full support to law related tasks of the customs authority. The necessary preparative arrangements started in the beginning of 2007 involving the Hungarian customs authority, which gradually tightened the professional relationship between the customs authority and GS1 Hungary.
As the fruit of the common work of the Ministry, the Customs Authority and GS1 Hungary, the new e-HWM system still based on GS1 standards has been operating since January 2008, which helps the accomplishment of daily tasks related to environmental product fee and the waste management in case of both the Ministry and the Customs Authority. Parallel to this, the necessity of using GLN numbers has also been defined in law for business organizations concerned product fee regulation, Producer Responsibility Organizations, and waste management organizations.
5-3-2- Possibility to use GS1 standards based XML messages
According to a remarkable new regulation among the law modifications of 2008, the business organizations concerned can have the possibility to submit the data service obligations to the customs authority in XML format produced by the software used by them. Based on these, GS1 Hungary has been given the opportunity to begin working out XML templates in accordance with GS1 standards which are going to be able to accomplish data service tasks specified by law in electronic format for any business organizations. The customs authority indicated its willingness to support the work out, application and publication of such GS1 standards based messages, that meet law specifications in terms of data content and support the spreading of electronic data service.
GS1 and the WCO’s continuing cooperation on Customs related issues, aims to provide concrete identification and traceability solutions to help Customs identify potential counterfeit merchandise. The relationship between the two organizations was further strengthened by the Memorandum of Understanding signed in November 2007.
Food Traceability And Visibility
ماهنامه شماره5(دی ماه 1394)
Why is traceability such a hot topic in the food sector? In 2011, the EU had nearly 4,800 product recalls, two-thirds of which were in food. Research by AMR in 2007 also found that 67% of EU and US food companies with sales of $5Bn or more had recalls that cost at least $20Mn. In the event of a food product recall, an effective traceability system which enables stakeholders and other parties to quickly identify the cause and remove affected products from the supply chain helps to minimise the risk to consumers and limit the economic impact and damage to brand reputation.
Food traceability, at the heart of food safety, essential for a variety of food investigations and a valuable facilitator of global food trade, involves the ability to identify, at any specified stage of the food chain (from production to distribution) from where the food came (one step back) and to where the food went (one step forward), the so-called “one-up, one-down” system (OUOD). This necessitates that each lot of each food material is given a unique identifier which accompanies it and is recorded at all stages of its progress through its food chain. Because multi-ingredient foods may include materials from a variety of food chains and countries, importers may have to rely on the traceability systems of other countries up to the point of import.
This Scientific Information Bulletin attempts to bring together the state of play on traceability legislation or impending legislation or voluntary arrangements across the globe, and to develop improved traceability and after it explains about enabling visibility from source to shelves by EPCIS
Here are some top reasons why EPCIS is gaining ground as a visibility-enabling standard throughout the supply chain
The identification of the origin of food and feed ingredients and food sources is of prime importance for the protection of consumers, particularly when products are found to be faulty.
Traceability facilitates and precisely targets the recall or withdrawal of foods when necessary; enables consumers to be provided with targeted and accurate information concerning implicated products; and is crucial to the investigation of the causes of food poisoning and other contamination outbreaks. Thus traceability is an indispensible feature of food safety. Long before there was any attempt to legislate for traceability, responsible food manufacturers, in their own enlightened self-interest, operated their own traceability schemes. These were usually based on the concept widely known as “one-up, one-down,” (OUOD). The impetus to develop legislation was public and governmental concern in many countries over food poisoning and other contamination outbreaks (including potential bioterrorism), despite all the food safety legislation that existed.
Traceability necessitates that each lot of each food material is given an unique identifier which accompanies it and is recorded at all stages of its progress through its food chain.
As products transform from raw materials to finished goods and move from source to retailers’ shelves, trading partners must gain visibility into each of the steps along the way. They must get answers to “what, where, when and why” questions to meet consumer and regulatory demands for accurate and detailed product information. Add to this the ever-present need to continuously improve operational efficiencies. In short, visibility is a critical requirement to effectively compete in today’s business environment.
3- Identifiers, hardware and software
There are many approaches for unique identification of food, many of which are in use throughout the world. Current practice often involves combining different relevant data fields such as a Global Trade Identification Number (GTIN) with a handler’s production lot or batch number. Other, less used possibilities include serialized GTINs (e.g. sGTIN) or Unique Identification numbers (UID) as used by the United States Department of Defense or a Globally Unique Identification Number (GUID) as used by other manufactured product industries.
Unique codes may be stored, presented and transmitted in a variety of ways including ear tags for livestock, printed human readable data, barcodes, 2D barcodes, electronically via radio frequency identification tags (RFID).
Commercially available hardware and software and solutions providers offer a variety of solutions for recording, storing and retrieving data.
4- Problems of Traceability
Because multi-ingredient foods may include materials from a variety of food chains and countries, importers may have to rely on the traceability systems (if any) of other countries up to the point of import. This may be particularly difficult in the case of developing countries.
Obvious areas of difficulty are where a received or sold bulk supply is a (sometimes heterogeneous) mixture of lots, or where a bulk supply (such as of grain, coffee, olive oil, rice, and milk from multiple farms) is delivered into bulk containers or silos, or where a received or sold pallet load of containers includes a mixture of lots.
However, the major problem areas are reliance on all business operators to maintain adequate records and internal traceability; and the frustrating slowness when utilising traceability for outbreak investigations. This has given rise to the search for a new food traceability concept that emerged around 2008 and that has potential to revolutionise global food traceability (see below).
The OUOD approach requires food supply chain participants to be capable of identifying, through records maintained by the company, the immediate supplier and customer of an identified food material. Although even the smallest of food businesses (at least in developed countries) typically use some form of accounting system, the normal processes and records related to purchasing, receiving and shipping products are sometimes insufficient to fulfill the OUOD requirement or may be unaccompanied by effective internal traceability or maintenance of the onward integrity of the material identifier.
When investigating suspected food poisoning or other contamination, investigations using the OUOD approach are tedious and time consuming. Naturally, the process is serial, in that investigators must first review documents at the last known supply chain node in order to identify the next node up the chain., Although regulations vary from country to country, these usually permit investigators immediate access to records when on site. Since legal consequences may ensue from any investigation, supply chain participants are typically permitted 24 hours to respond to specific requests for information. Assuming each supply chain participant uses the full 24 hours, it may take days or weeks for investigators to work their way back through the chain(s) to identify the source of contamination. Keeping in mind that investigators are often unsure as to the source of contamination, and as multi-ingredient food products contain materials received from several separate food chains many such investigations must be done simultaneously. When the source of contamination is identified, the process is then used in reverse to identify product for recall. In addition to being tedious and time consuming for investigators, investigations are often unnecessarily disruptive to many businesses along each supply chain investigated and more consumers may be adversely affected in the meantime.
Even if it is assumed that all necessary data are present and error free, it is clear that this OUOD system is not designed to point investigators quickly to likely sources of contamination.
Adding real-life complexities related to incomplete, missing or erroneous data simply adds to the time and tediousness of food recall investigations.
5- Legislation, Impending Legislation and Voluntary Schemes
A Codex document elaborates a set of principles to assist competent authorities in utilizing traceability/product tracing as a tool within their food inspection and certification system. This document should be read in conjunction with all relevant Codex texts as well as those adopted by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) where appropriate. Recognizing the dual mandate of the Codex Alimentarius, traceability/product tracing is a tool that may be applied, when and as appropriate, within a food inspection and certification system in order to contribute to the protection of consumers against food-borne hazards and deceptive marketing practices and the facilitation of trade on the basis of accurate product description.
ISO 22005:2007 provides a standard for traceability in the feed and food chain – General principles and basic requirements for system design and implementation (ISO 22005:2007).
The Agriculture and Rural Development Department (ARD) of the World Bank in collaboration with infoDev (a global grant program managed by the World Bank to promote innovative projects on the use of information and communication technologies) embarked in an effort to explore and capture the expanding knowledge and use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools in agrarian livelihoods. In November 2011, the World Bank released an electronic Sourcebook (e-Sourcebook) to initiate further investment in this sector. Called “ICT in Agriculture”, the e-Sourcebook provides practitioners within and outside of the World Bank Group with lessons learned, guiding principles, and hundreds of examples and case studies on applying information and communication technologies in poor agriculture. It consists of standalone modules. Module 12 is “Improving Food Safety and Traceability”.
The Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI), sponsored by Canadian Produce Marketing Association, GS1 US, Produce Marketing Association and United Fresh Produce Association, is designed to help the produce industry maximize the effectiveness of current trace back procedures, while developing a standardized industry approach to enhance the speed and efficiency of traceability systems for the future.
The PTI has a bold vision which outlines a course of action to achieve supply chain-wide adoption of electronic traceability of every case of produce by the year 2012. The main thrust of PTI has been standardization of data structures and presentation of data on cases and pallets of produce. PTI is described by the produce industry as, “ … designed to help the industry maximize the effectiveness of current trace back procedures, while developing a standardized industry approach to enhance the speed and efficiency of traceability systems for the future”.
PTI has made great strides in developing data structure and presentation standards for the produce industry; however, PTI remains rooted in the OUOD approach. Therefore, benefits from PTI are more likely to be reduction in data errors and perhaps greater efficiency by supply chain participants in collection and dissemination of traceability data. However, since legal consequences of such investigations remain, it is possible that the time saved may ultimately be consumed internally by company management and/or legal counsel rather than contributing to any acceleration of investigations and recalls. Additionally, it is questionable whether PTI can or will be more widely adopted by other segments of the food industry.
The Global Traceability Standard (GTS) is promulgated by GS1, an international not-for-profit association with member organisations in over 100 countries. GTS makes traceability systems possible on a global scale, all along the supply chain, no matter how many companies are involved or how many borders are crossed, no matter what technologies are used.
5-2- National Activities
Information is given below on the situation in some selected countries. Information on other countries is given in McEntire et al., 2010.
5-2-1- Argentina and Brazil
Because European Union auditors are closely monitoring traceability performance in Argentina and Brazil, agricultural officials in both nations are taking steps to align their traceability systems with EU standards (see below) in hopes of reducing inspection visits. For the same reason, a non-GMO traceability system is in operation.
The Patagonia region of southern Argentina is upgrading its fruit traceability system as part of a GlobalGAP benchmarking program called Patagonia Traces. The region’s producers as well as the federal and state agriculture ministries are working with GlobalGAP advisors in order to become certified and position more of their products in the display cases of major European food retailers.
GS1 Australia has joined forces with Efficient Consumer Response Australasia (ECRA) – supported by the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) – the Liquor Merchants Association of Australia, the Food Service Suppliers Association of Australia, key government agencies and departments and key suppliers and retailers from the grocery, liquor and healthcare sectors to establish a portal for all product recalls and withdrawals. In order for accurate and complete product recalls to be a reality, not only does industry need a common platform for the accurate communication of recall information to government, industry and consumers, but also business need to be able to accurately keep and access manufacturing and distribution records.
The vision is for a secure National Agriculture and Food Traceability System (NAFTS) to better serve citizens, industry and government. The system will provide timely, accurate and relevant traceability information to enhance emergency management, market access, industry competitiveness and consumer confidence. Recognizing industry’s leadership and foresight in building the foundation for animal traceability, in 2006, federal, provincial and territorial agriculture ministers committed to phasing-in a NAFTS, beginning with livestock and poultry.
A national livestock traceability system is based on three pillars: animal identification; premises identification; and animal movement.
An Industry-Government Advisory Committee (IGAC) was established to lead the development and implementation of the livestock and poultry components of a NAFTS. The IGAC is comprised of 22 industry members and another 15 representing federal, provincial and territorial governments.
Many livestock sectors have solid foundations for traceability. For example, animal identification is already mandatory in the cattle, bison and sheep sectors, and is regulated by the federal government; other sectors, such as swine and poultry, have independently developed systems for collecting traceability information.
Industry and governments recognize the challenges associated with building a national traceability system, such as costs, confidentiality, liability and compliance, but they are committed to working together through IGAC to address these challenges (Canadian Traceability).
‘China is embracing the “Internet of Things” (IoT) technology as part of an effort to address thorny food security issues’, a government official said. ‘A pilot program will include the establishment of a cloud computing center in Shanghai’s Jinshan district to ensure food traceability’, Li Bin, director of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology’s (MIIT) information center, told China Daily. This means tracing food or ingredients across the partially or entirely reconstructed supply chain, so that recalls can be issued when quality problems arise”, Li said on the sidelines of IoT China 2011 Conference and Exhibition in Shanghai. ‘It also allows real-time detection of animals, for example during outbreaks of contagious disease, for control, survey and prevention’, Li added.
5-2-5- European Union
Regulation No 178/2002, which applies in all EU Member States, Article 3 (15) defines: ‘traceability’ means the ability to trace and follow a food, feed, food-producing animal or substance intended to be, or expected to be incorporated into a food or feed, through all stages of production, processing and distribution.
Article 18 is concerned with traceability and states
1. The traceability of food, feed, food-producing animals, and any other substance intended to be, or expected to be, incorporated into a food or feed shall be established at all stages of production, processing and distribution.
2. Food and feed business operators shall be able to identify any person from whom they have been supplied with a food, a feed, a food-producing animal, or any substance intended to be, or expected to be, incorporated into a food or feed. To this end, such operators shall have in place systems and procedures which allow for this information to be made available to the competent authorities on demand.
3. Food and feed business operators shall have in place systems and procedures to identify the other businesses to which their products have been supplied. This information shall be made available to the competent authorities on demand.
4. Food or feed which is placed on the market or is likely to be placed on the market in the Community shall be adequately labelled or identified to facilitate its traceability, through relevant documentation or information in accordance with the relevant requirements of more specific provisions.
5. Provisions for the purpose of applying the requirements of this Article in respect of specific sectors may be adopted in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article
These requirements are supported by the the EU Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) which was put in place to provide food and feed control authorities with an effective tool to exchange information about measures taken responding to serious risks detected in relation to food or feed. This exchange of information helps Member States to act more rapidly and in a coordinated manner in response to a health threat caused by food or feed.
Public recalls of food products due to food safety concerns are comparatively rare in India, but with the growing capability of the FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) and with the development of branded food products they are becoming common tools to protect customers when things go wrong with a food production process.
“India is rather advanced in the food traceability area and has implemented various tracking and tracing systems in its food industry such as the GrapeNet software used to provide traceability for the table grapes exported from India to European Union. With the Indian food industry projected to grow by $100 billion to $300 billion by 2015 according to a report by FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry) – Technopak, the Government of India is focussed on enhancing the competitiveness of the food processing industry for both, domestic and international markets. India is definitely well-positioned for more advancement in food traceability over the next several years,” said Andrew Tay, APAC (Asia Pacific) president, Zebra Technologies.
The Japanese Government has issued a revised updated 2007 version of its “Handbook for Introduction of Food Traceability Systems: Guidelines for Food Traceability”.
Korea introduced a full beef traceability system in 2008, in the wake of the BSE outbreak.
5-2-9- South Africa
A research project has reached the following conclusions:
Based on the research, including numerous interviews with key stakeholders and experts in the industry, the following conclusions can be deduced:
Serious information fragmentation since deregulation of the industry in the previous decade, as well as the need to manage costs very carefully in a highly competitive market, created the need for effective access to information of the whole supply chain and all activities.
Legal and trade-related traceability pressures require the SA fruit export industry to have automated traceability in place, based on global procedures and standards.
The business need for greater efficiency benefits in the SA fruit export industry requires automation of the industry’s supply chains based on global procedures and standards.
Already developed and tested technologies in the consumer packaged goods industry, that will provide automated traceability and significant efficiency benefits, are available for implementation in the SA fruit export industry.
The SA fruit export industry will have a competitive advantage over its southern hemisphere competitors by being an early adopter of these global standards and technologies.
Enough cohesion, willing participants and supportive thinking seem to exist in the previously regulated deciduous and citrus environments to create the necessary critical mass for the implementation of these global standards and technologies.
Hence, given the need for effective access to integrated information, automated traceability, the need for efficiency benefits through automated supply chains, available technologies based on global standards and procedures, the opportunity to gain a competitive advantage over southern hemisphere competitors, and enough cohesion, willing participants and supportive thinking, it is concluded that more effective access to information and automated traceability are feasible for the SA fruit export industry.
After the 2001 terrorist attacks, The US Bioterrorism Act mandated a traceability system whereby:
• Food processors with between 11-499 full-time employees had until June 9, 2006 to comply (less than 10 full-time employees had until December 11, 2006). According to the ruling, upon an FDA request, they had 24 hours to produce the following information or be subject to civil and/or criminal penalties:
• Identify the immediate non-transporter previous sources, whether foreign or domestic, of all foods received, including lot or code number or other identifier
• Identify the immediate non-transporter subsequent recipients of all foods released, including lot or code number or other identifier
• Identify the specific source of each ingredient that was used to make every lot of finished product
In 2004, the US Department of Agriculture published “Agricultural Economic Report Number 830. Traceability in the U.S. Food Supply: Economic Theory and Industry Studies.
The 2011 Food Modernization and Safety Act (FMSA, 2011. H.R. 2751) includes provisions to expand authority of the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to, among other things, initiate mandatory food recalls and establishing a food product tracing system.
Establishment of the food product tracing system is to involve development of a plan based on pilot studies and stakeholder recommendations. FDA has commissioned the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) to execute traceability pilot studies, which are currently ongoing.
Given the timing provided to execute pilots and specific constraints written into the FMSA, it is unlikely that the FDA pilot studies being conducted by IFT will result in any immediate fundamental shift away from the OUOD approach, and like PTI, will likely focus on identification of common “Key Data Elements” (KDEs) and data format standardization.
IFT has issued two reports for FDA on traceability: one on technical aspects and the other on costs and implications. On August 9, 2011, USDA issued a proposed rule to establish general regulations for improving the traceability of U.S. livestock moving interstate when animal disease events take place (USDA, 2011). Under the proposed rule, unless specifically exempted, livestock moved interstate would have to be officially identified and accompanied by an interstate certificate of veterinary inspection or other documentation, such as owner-shipper statements or brand certificates. The proposed rule encourages the use of low-cost technology and specifies approved forms of official identification for each species, such as metal eartags for cattle.
However, recognizing the importance and prevalence of other identifications in certain regions, shipping and receiving states or tribes are permitted to agree upon alternative forms of identification such as brands or tattoos.
6- Future of Food Traceability – Critical Tracking Events
Efforts to improve food traceability typically identify two major goals, namely speed and accuracy. Standardisation will likely improve accuracy, but will not do much to improve speed. Speed and accuracy are both necessary to realize benefits from any food traceability system in terms of illness, lives, waste and inventory control. The OUOD approach, regardless of data standardization is simply not capable of providing the speed that will be required by the industry or regulators.
The Critical Tracking Event (CTE) concept is becoming widely accepted as the path to a next generation fast and effective food traceability system. The CTE approach is a bottom-up approach that is inherently secure in terms of data ownership, data access and proprietary information protection. The CTE approach recognizes that each operator knows their own operations best and provides complete latitude as to how to collect CTE traceability data. The CTE approach shifts focus from the food product itself to the events that manipulate the product in the supply chain. As each operator handles a food product (harvests, creates, receives, mingles, aggregates, palletizes, depalletizes, relocates, ships, etc.) its actions are viewed as events that occur at a specific locations, dates and times. Some of these events are critical to the ultimate traceability of the product. Therefore, those events are deemed to be “critical tracking events.” Since a CTE is essential to ultimately tracking the item in the supply chain, CTE traceability requires a commitment from operators to collect, store and make retrievable, CTE data from every CTE within their operation.
The modern concepts and technologies associated with relational distributed data provide confidence that the CTE model will be much more effective in terms of speed and accuracy. Unlike other approaches that are mired in exhaustive data field identification and standardization, the CTE approach requires very little data, none of which need be descriptive in any way of the product.
Since the goal of the food traceability system is to connect investigators with the source of contamination as quickly as possible, there is little value in collecting large amounts of even standardized data from every node in the supply chain when only a few or even none of the nodes may be of actual interest to the investigation. Rather, it would be preferable to skip nodes that are not interesting to the investigation, saving precious time for investigators as well as time and angst for many food businesses. This ability of the CTE approach to quickly and effortlessly elucidate the actual supply chain through CTEs is the major benefit over OUOD based approaches regardless of data standardization. Additionally, once the source of contamination is identified, the CTE based food traceability system is just as capable of trace forward as trace back, which means that rapid, targeted and accurate food product recalls will be possible.
The IFT’s current working definition of a critical tracking event is
“A CTE is any occurrence involving an item at a specific location and time associated with collection and storage of data useful for associating the item (or related items) to the specific occurrence at a later time and is determined to be necessary for identifying the actual path of an item through the supply chain.”
When applying this definition, it is easy to see that the many important and often proprietary business process data are not necessary to achieve traceability with CTEs. Basic handling/transfer CTEs require the minimum amount of data, which includes a code to identify the item, a code to identify the particular CTE (e.g. “received at ABC Co. at door #2”) and a date and time stamp. Transformative CTEs (mixing, repacking, etc.) require additional information to link the inbound and outbound product-codes.
Under the CTE approach, each operator would determine how best to collect and store data. Some might be able to maintain a CTE Server on-site. Smaller businesses might choose to house CTE data at a third-party (cloud) based service provider. Regardless, CTE data remain the property of and under the direct control of the business generating CTE data. The CTE concept is summarized in Figure 1.
Figure 1-Conceptual diagram of an intergrated, flexible, scalable global food traceability system based on distributed Critical Tracking Event data.
When an outbreak occurs, investigators would be able to query the CTE traceability system by asking, “who has seen item code XYZ?” CTE servers might first alert a company that an appropriate authority has made a formal request. The company could then review the request and authorize a response. The initial response could be minimal in terms of “no” (the item was never seen by our CTEs), or “yes” (the item was seen at these locations at these dates and times). Transformative CTEs would provide the link between products and ingredients. At this point, investigators would be able to clearly visualize the supply chain for the item in terms of locations, dates and times. Assuming other investigations are on-going, there may be nodes that are common to separate investigations (e.g., sprouts from a deli sandwich and sprouts from a restaurant salad bar). In such cases, investigators would be drawn directly to the point of convergence rather than working their way backwards through a cumbersome OUOD system.
Companies may choose to use or not use existing product codes or coding schemes. The CTE traceability approach simply requires product codes that are globally unique (Welt, 2008). Since many current industry coding schemes use qualitative information as part of the code (e.g., PTI combines UPC/GTIN with lot numbers) and since proprietary information may be gleaned from codes with meaningful business data, it is recommended that codes expose no valuable information themselves, but rather point to relevant data for retrieval by properly authorized personnel. For the case of PTI codes with exposed lot number information, someone might be able to glean competitor production rate and/or volume by analyzing rates of changes of lot numbers in product codes. This can be avoided by associating the CTE traceability code to appropriate lot numbers within the enterprise database. Identifying the lot associated with a particular item would be a matter of a simple database query and can be done by appropriately authorized personnel.
Implementation of CTE traceability does not interfere with any existing business processes. However, CTEs require a commitment by operators to collect, store and make available for retrieval a minimal set of data that is inherently secure through abstraction, separation and restricted accessibility. Operators can choose the most appropriate manner to collect data from manual entry to sophisticated automated scanners. Once CTE data are captured and available for query, investigators will no longer need to stop at each node in the supply chain in order to learn where to go next. CTE based traceability promises to greatly accelerate the rate of trace back investigations as well as the precision and speed of recalls.
Some top reasons why EPCIS is gaining ground as a visibility-enabling standard throughout the supply chain;
Interoperable and flexible framework: EPCIS was developed and continues to be enhanced to meet the needs of multiple industries like consumer goods, fresh foods, apparel, fish, transport & logistics and healthcare. With the recent release of EPCIS 1.1, lot/batch-based product identification is now supported, catering for industries where serialisation at item level is not always feasible. What’s more, EPCIS allows for industry-specific enhancements and, although “EPC” is part of its name, EPCIS works well with GS1 Identification Keys, regardless of whether they are encoded in GS1 barcodes or on EPC/RFID tags.
Defined vocabulary and interfaces: EPCIS defines interfaces for sharing supply chain event data between applications that capture event information and applications that need access to such information. EPCIS is complemented by its companion standard Core Business Vocabulary (CBV), which defines data values for a broad set of business processes and scenarios. This vocabulary is used to populate EPCIS events, ensuring that all trading partners exchanging supply chain visibility data have a common and consistent understanding of the business meaning of that information.
Data shared on a “need-to-know” basis: With EPCIS, all trading partners control their own data and may share it with only those they choose by leveraging established security mechanisms.
Real business impact: EPCIS-enabled visibility provides trading partners with tangible business benefits. Companies can improve their inventory management with real-time visibility of stocks, in turn improving the continuity of product flow through supply chains for fewer out-of-stock situations. By establishing product provenance, supply chain stakeholders can more effectively combat counterfeiting, reinforce sustainability measures and ensure regulatory compliance.
7- Case study
Steve Ells founded Chipotle Mexican Grill in 1993 with his first restaurant in Denver, Colorado. As a classically trained chef, Ells has always focused on delicious food made from the best ingredients and transforming a “fast food” experience into one more akin to fine dining. More than two decades and 1,400 restaurants later, Ells’ singular purpose has proven to be a winning recipe.
Chipotle’s Food with Integrity vision defines the company’s mission to continually strive for better sources of food that meet its requirements for animal welfare, sustainability and social accountability. The underpinning of the mission is a traceability program launched with Chipotle growers and suppliers, using GS1 standards for end-to-end supply chain traceability.
7-1- Chipotle Step-by-Step Visibility
Using a simple registration process, suppliers create and maintain their profiles in the system, including GS1 standards-based data such as the GS1 Company Prefix that uniquely identifies them. Global Location Numbers (GLNs) identify entity and location for each of their fields, pack houses and distribution centres. Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs) identify every product destined for Chipotle kitchens – food ingredients, beverages and even paper products.
Incoming raw ingredients and outbound products are labeled with the product name, along with the Global Trade Item Number® or GTIN®, batch/lot number, and pack and/or use-by date encoded in a GS1-128 barcode on each case of product. Cases are palletised and linked to a GS1 Serial Shipping Container Code (SSCC). On a hybrid pallet label, the SSCC is encoded in a GS1-128 barcode along with each case configuration containing GTINs, batch/lot numbers and pallet quantity.
Chipotle links together all product tracking information provided by growers, distributors and processors in FoodLogiQ’s whole chain traceability solution.
“EPCIS opens an important door for the food industry, enabling supply chain visibility information with precision and confidence,” says Andy Kennedy, President of FoodLogiQ and co-chair of the GS1 standards working group that developed EPCIS 1.1.
In order to connect raw ingredients to source locations, ingredients to finished products, and finished products to manufacturer and distributor, Chipotle asks that suppliers track and share Critical Tracking Events or CTEs. Six CTEs are prescribed, starting with growers that pack cases with produce and assign them to pallets, to the event where distributors ship cases of processed food packs to Chipotle restaurants.
Food traceability based upon OUOD is not likely ever to satisfy speed requirements necessary for rapid and precise food recalls. A relatively new food traceability concept known as Critical Tracking Events simplifies data collection and standardization while providing for extremely rapid supply chain elucidation during trace back investigations as well as rapid outbreak source identification and precise food recalls and EPCIS provides the critical foundation for the visibility needed to improve business processes, comply with regulations, and increase consumer and patient safety. At the same time, its flexibility and extensibility are geared to support both current and future needs of trading partners across multiple industries, regardless of data carrier.