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Figure 1. The consumer's view of the RFID-F2F system. In such a complex, varied and changeable supply chain, it is not surprising that the ‘one forward, one back’ system does not provide complete security or traceability. The global standard for identification within the supply chain is the Electronic Product Code (EPC) system developed and maintained by the international organisation GS1. In its most basic form, the EPC is the system that ensures that each product type has a unique barcode number which allows its identity to be determined when necessary. Thus, for instance, manufacturers can use a single number, which uniquely identifies a product for the point of sale terminal (and other parts of the business process) owned by any retailer. Thus most food producers, supplying to retail have already acquired EPC codes and are members of GS1. EPC is at the heart of a powerful system that not only uniquely identifies products, but also production locations, business assets and the business steps, which transform a set of ingredients into a product. This is the EPC Information System (EPCIS). It provides a toolset, which can be used to track any supply chain and production process from end to end. The EPCIS has formed the basis of asset tracking in many industries and is currently used by at least some of the larger suppliers in the food industry. 16 2/14 eFOOD-Lab international Given that a system exists which can provide process traceability from end to end of production, a worthwhile question is can it be applied to the food industry to provide a robust means of identification of the ingredients and also of the manufacturing processes for food products? In fact there have been several such systems demonstrated and used within the food industry, one of them, which realised end-to-end traceability across a range of products and different scale producers was the ‘RFID from Farm to Fork’ (RFID-F2F) project, undertaken as part of the EU’s Competitiveness and Innovation Programme. In overview, for the consumer, the RFID-F2F system works as follows. Each product (unit) sold is labelled with a two dimensional barcode (QR code or Datamatrix) which links to a web page unique to that product. In this context ‘product’ might mean the individual unit, the case or crate or batch, depending on the amount of traceability achieved and also considerations such as the unit price of the product. The web page gives marketing information about the product, locates its position of origin (the plant at which it was produced), identifies suppliers and gives similar information about them, reveals the dates and times of the various production stages involved in that product and can also give additional data, such as cold chain information. In fact, the system is conceptually open ended, so the consumer could be presented with every bit of information on the production process that was available to the system, but in practice it is better to select to the most pertinent information. In the prototype system the web pages were designed after discussing with consumers the information they wanted available about their food. This web page can be accessed on in shop terminal or by using mobile phone or tablet – all that is necessary is to read the barcode with the phone or tablet’s camera using the standard bar code app and the product’s web page is fetched. A sample web page is shown in figure 1. The web page is assembled on demand by making queries to servers operating the EPCIS. Since EPCIS identifies resources in a globally unique manner (ad Global Resource Indicators, GRI) the system automatically retrieves all of the information for the supply chain, even should that require the visiting of several servers. A major design feature of the EPCIS architecture is that it is inherently distributed, allowing queries to be resolved using information from several repositories (since the system operates in a global name space). This is a crucial advantage in a sector in which the supply chain is fragmented among- Food Authentificati on


eFOOD-Lab_International_02_2014
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