New article: The TraceFood Framework – Principles and guidelines for implementing traceability in food value chains

Requirements related to food safety and associated legislation and certification have increased a lot in recent years. Among these are the requirements for systematic recordings to be made throughout the supply chain so that in case of a food crisis it is possible to trace back to source of contamination, and to perform a targeted recall of potentially affected food items. These systematic recordings must be connected to the food items through unique identifiers, and the recordings, the identifiers and the documentation of how ingredients and food items join or split up as they move through the supply chain is what constitutes a traceability system. For the food industry, the traceability system is also an important tool for controlling and optimizing production, for getting better industrial statistics and better decisions, and for profiling desirable product characteristics. Current status is that many food producers have good, often electronic traceability systems internally, but exchange (especially electronic exchange) of information between the links in the supply chain is very time-consuming or difficult due to the diversity and proprietary nature of the respective internal systems. To facilitate electronic interchange of this type of data, an international, non-proprietary standard is needed; one that describes how messages can be constructed, sent and received and also how the data elements in the messages should be identified, measured and interpreted. The TraceFood Framework was designed for this purpose, and it contains recommendations for ‘‘Good Traceability Practice’’, common principles for unique identification of food items, a common generic standard for electronic exchange of traceability information (TraceCore XML), and sector-specific ontologies where the meaning and the inter-relationship of the data elements is defined. The TraceFood Framework is a joint collaboration of many EU-funded projects dealing with traceability of food products; especially the integrated project TRACE where most of the work related to specification, design and testing of the framework has taken place.


Storøy, J., Thakur, M., Olsen, P. (2013) The TraceFood Framework – Principles and guidelines for implementing traceability in food value chains. Journal of Food Engineering, 115, 41-48.

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