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Identification and Traceability of Meat and Meat

Identification and Traceability of Meat and Meat

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Published by Dinko Yordanov
D. Yordanov, G. Angelova
D. Yordanov, G. Angelova

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Categories:Types, Research, Science
Published by: Dinko Yordanov on Feb 04, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Biotechnol. & Biotechnol. Eq. 20/2006/1
D. Yordanov
, G. Angelova
 University of Food Technology, Department of “Meat & Fish Technology”, Plovdiv, Bulgaria
 “Digest” Ltd., Design & Engineering, Plovdiv, Bulgaria
With the expansion of global trade, com-puterization and communications, plainlanguage descriptions of products andservices, need to be replaced by identifica-tion and product tracing systems that areusable in all trade and industry sectorsworldwide. Traceability is increasinglybecoming standard across the agri-foodindustry, largely driven by recent food cri-ses and the consequent demands for trans-parency within the food chain.Product traceability is the process of maintaining records of all materials andparts from purchasing to finished goodswhere a unique number identify a part,batch, or a finished product. Traceability inthe food industry must aim to create a link between the various steps in the entire foodchain, so-called “from farm to work”.These steps must cover animal productionat the farm, processing in meat plants andother food premises, distribution to whole-salers and retailers and right through to themoment the food is placed on the con-sumer’s table. Tracing of animals can pro-vide greater confidence in certificationschemes, especially regarding their disease-free status (6, 9).Traceability also forms an essential com-ponent of any risk management strategyand is a key requirement for post-marketingsurveillance. Traceability provides theability to identify and track a product or acomponent to its point of origin. The pointof origin may be a particular lot or batch,production line and time frame, field, orsupplier. Product traceability is very im-portant to reliability. If a particular lot of acritical component is found to be defectiveafter being used in product that is alreadysold, traceability provides a means of iden-tifying the units for recall. The meat pro-ducts require complete traceability (1, 9).The quality of meat products are deter-mined by a complex of indexes – organo-leptical, technological, hygienically. Thereare a lot of factors impacting on them. Asresults of the advance of meat science, newrequirements about meat quality, nutritionaland biological values and safety havearisen (13). Here are some of the benefitsand solutions provided with product identi-fication and tracing (6):
Procedures for identifying and tracing theproduct during all stages of production,delivery & installation.
Requires knowing what parts comprisethe product, their specification, theirstatus, etc.
Requires knowing the exact content of products that have been delivered to eachcustomer so that the right customer ser-vice can be provided.
Helps to satisfy “Process Control”.
Tracing Methods
The increasing role of traceability leads tothe development of a range of traceabilityconcepts and technologies adapted to dif-ferent industry need. These concepts andsystems have been promoted through bothprivate and public sector initiatives andthus have sought to address different needs;
Biotechnol. & Biotechnol. Eq. 20/2006/1
not surprisingly different concepts andtechnology solution have thereforeevolved. The basic characteristics of trace-ability systems are similar, requiring pro-duct identification, product tracking andmaintenance of information relating toproducts and its movement. Yet there re-mains a lack of clear consensus as to howtraceability is achieved in practice. But thefundamentals of a traceability system re-quire: the unique identification of the pro-duct (or batch) throughout its entire pro-duct history; the collection of informationon the product and its movements; inte-grated information management .A key feature of any traceability systemis the ability to clearly identify that whichis to be traced. Ideally the product identifiershould (9,10):- uniquely identify the unit or batch;- be secure;- be permanent;- retain identity throughout the productlife-cycle;- be simple to read and capture identify-ing data;- not hinder its host.In practice no single identification systemis likely to meet all these requirements andthe choice of methods will ultimately bedetermined by specific need of the supplychain in question.A variety of options exists for tracing,applicable in the farms and meat industry(
Table 1
).In the live animal, ear tags and tattoos arecheap and easy. Radio Frequency Identifi-cation (RFID) tags and transponders arevery expensive and can be unreliable. Sub-cutaneous transponders raise questions of welfare and the risk entering the foodchain. Some elegant ideas such as injectinga unique antigen into the pigs from eachfarm to give readable antibody in the meatmay find even less favour with the con-sumer.Inside the slaughter and processing plant,the simpler options include paper bar codes
Examples of some tracing methods (15)
Live animalVisual ear tagsRFID ear tagsBar Code Ear TagsTattoosAntibodies by injectionSlaughtering&ProcessingPaper bar codesRFID tagsBatch markersMolecular bar codesQuantum dotsMicrowave radarRetail & distribution Machine readable codesConsumerNumerica
codesPublic access website
that can be read and reprinted at each pointwhere a cut is divided into smaller portions.Batch can be identified by some form of “marker” or interruption that passesthrough all lines within the plant. Moreexpensive options include RFID or smartcredit card type systems (15)
EAN UCC numbering system
The European commission has recognizedan urgent need to regain consumer confi-dence in beef products and therefore be-lieves in fact tracing of beef productsthroughout the supply chain. The EuropeanParliament has adapted a regulation oncompulsory labeling of beef (EC)1760/2000. This regulation aims to ensurea link between, on one hand, the identifi-cation of the carcass, quarter or pieces of beef and on the other hand individual ani-mal or the group of animals from whichthey are derived. In particular the beef labelmust contain the following 6 mandatoryelements in human readable format (3):- a reference number or reference codeensuring the link between the meat andthe animal or a group of animals;- country of birth;- country of fattening;- country of slaughter;- country of cutting;
Biotechnol. & Biotechnol. Eq. 20/2006/1
Information exchange for Meat Identification and Labeling (12)
TrackingFarm Slaughtering Cutting Selling ConsumingCarcass ticket Processing label Consumer labelEAN/UCC Symbol:NoneEAN/UCC Symbol:EAN/UCC 128EAN/UCC Symbol:EAN/UCC 128EAN/UCC Symbol:EAN-13Valid passport or healthcertificateEar-tag numberEANCOM (EDI),EAN/UCC 128AI 01 GTINAI 251 Ear tag
 EANCOM (EDI), EAN/UCC 128AI 01 GTINAI 251 Ear tag
orAI 10 Batch
 Only a GTIN which is thekey to the article databaseduring scanning at the pointof saleAdditional:AI 422 – Country of birthAI 423 – Country of FatteningAI 7030 – Country of slaughter and ap-proval
of theslaughterhousesAdditional:AI 422 – Country of birthAI 423 – Country of FatteningAI 7030 – Country of slaughterand approval
of theslaughterhousesAI 7031-39 Country of cuttinghalls and approval
of thecutting hallTracing
- approval number of the slaughterhousesand cutting hall.Adopting the EAN/UCC System, aunique identification numbering systemtogether with the use of UCC/EAN – 128bar codes, provide unique and unambigu-ous identification for worldwide recogni-tion and can improve the efficiency andexchanging information between supplychain participants. Item numbering is asystem of identifying products by givingeach one a unique number. Traceabilityrequires the identification of all physicalentities (locations) where fresh produceoriginates from and where it is packed andstored. These may include but are not li-mited to fields, growers, packers, carriers,wholesalers and retailers (10, 12).A system for identifying and tracing pro-duce is needed so that sub-standard or un-safe produce can be recalled. It also ena-bles the cause of problems to be identifiedand their recurrence prevented. The essen-tial requirements for an effective system are:
Each batch of product must be clearlymarked.
A record must be kept of the batch IDand the destination details.
Records of operations critical to foodsafety and quality must be maintained.The following table (
Table 2
) showshow product identification methods andrecords combine to form an effective sys-tem for product identification and trace-ability linking the stages of growing,packing and delivery to retailers (12).

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