This article describes how GS1 India’s traceability service – DataKart Trace – help improve the food safety in the supply chain.
- Introduction to Food Safety
- Traceability Solutions
- Global Trade Identification Numbers
- Digital Link QR Codes
- DataKart Trace
Introduction to Food Safety
Supplying safe and healthy food to the consumer is the goal of food industry, government and regulatory bodies around the world. The availability of fresh and safe food affects the health of the consumers. According to World Health Organization (WHO), worldwide there are 600 million cases of food-borne diseases, leading to 420,000 deaths every year. However, this is preventable.
Food products reach consumers through a global supply chain. Food supply chains deal in consumable products like meat, ice cream, dairy, fruits, vegetables, and finished products such as chocolates, packaged food items, etc. These products are highly susceptible to quality degradation with time, and hence, their freshness needs to be maintained. They have a variable shelf life, sensitive to storage and transportation conditions like temperature and humidity. Ensuring this require continuous monitoring to meet standard quality requirements.
One of the biggest challenge of any food supply chain is its intermittent nature. It consists of various stages, each of which has to ensure the exact same product conditions until the product reaches the consumer. For example, the manufacturer has to ensure product delivery in the right conditions to third-party logistics (3PL) providers, who then has to maintain the desired controlled conditions throughout the shipment.
The company can ensure that the food reaches the end consumer safely by monitoring the same using tracking and tracing the product throughout the supply chain. To achieve this, organisations use traceability solutions aimed at informing them on the exact location and condition of the product, in real-time.
GS1 India’s Traceability Service
GS1 India and CII face conducted a study on food traceability and how it impacts food safety. The study concluded that adoption of global standard based solutions can improve the safety record of food industry.
Basis this, GS1 India has developed a global standards based traceability service – DataKart Trace – to help the food industry improve safety. The service can help in tracking food products through all stages of production, processing and distribution.
Global Trade Identification Numbers
To enable unique identification of products for traceability purposes, DataKart Trace enables unique product identification using serialised Global Trade Identification Number (GTIN). Each product has a barcode embedded with SGTIN printed on the product label.
Unique product identification helps in tracking a particular product batch through the supply chain. It also helps in implementing First Expiry First Out which would enable food product batches which are expiring first to be prioritized and moved faster in the supply chain. GTINs can also help in identifying defective food batches in case of a food product recall.
Digital Link QR Codes
These unique codes can either be encoded in the form of data matrix or GS1 Digital Link QR code, printed on product labels. When a consumer scans the QR code, she will get detailed information about the product including manufacturing and expiry date, details of manufacturer, ingredients, allergens etc. The consumer will also be able to track the product from the manufacturer to the retailer as well as determine the authenticity of the product. All this helps in improving food safety.
GS1 India’s DataKart Trace enables companies to track and trace the food products as they move through the supply chain. At every node in the supply chain the barcode/QR code/ Datamatrix code is scanned using DataKart Trace mobile app. Once scanned, the information would be available on the cloud, enabling supply chain visibility. It allows continuous monitoring and information sharing with all stakeholders, leading to the improvement in food safety.
Global standards based traceability service can help a company track and monitor the food products through the supply chain and improve food safety.