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Can-Trace Completes Second Version of Canadian Food Traceability Data Standard
-- Voluntary Standard Enables Organizations to Implement Traceability System --

Toronto, ON, August 2, 2006 – Can-Trace, a collaborative and open initiative committed to the development of traceability standards for all food products sold in Canada, announces the completion of the second version of the Canadian Food Traceability Data Standard (CFTDS).  This latest version incorporates enhancements and modifications based on change requests submitted by stakeholders after the first version was published in December 2004.  The new version will make it easier for producer groups to incorporate the Can-Trace standard into their existing programs, enabling a consistent approach to traceability from farm gate to retail.

"Can-Trace represents a tremendous amount of work accomplished by representatives from industry working together with the support and involvement of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada," said David Rideout, Can-Trace's elected chair, and Executive Director, Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance.  “As a result of this initiative, Canada has been propelled to a leadership position in traceability on the global stage.  On a domestic front, Can-Trace provides a whole chain “safety net” for traceability information to be shared by trading partners along the supply chain.”

Can-Trace began its work in 2003 with the objective of developing a voluntary, whole-chain standard identifying the minimum information or data elements essential to establish traceability.  Adaptable for different food and agriculture sectors, the CFTDS is based on a one up/one down model of sharing traceability information, using international data carrier standards.

Changes to the first version were a result of requests from various stakeholder groups and conclusions from a study of the traceability requirements found in several on- and-off farm food safety and quality programs.  With the addition of new mandatory data elements and modifications to make some terminology more generic in nature, the new version allows an increasing number of organizations closer to the producer-end of the supply chain to more efficiently integrate the standard into their business processes.

Over the past three years, Can-Trace has worked collaboratively to produce materials intended to provide information and guidance to stakeholders interested in traceability.  The work has been conducted collaboratively with industry representatives from many commodity groups and all parts of the food supply chain as well as observers from federal and provincial governments.  Examples of this work include:

  • Pilot studies of simulated food recalls in beef, pork and produce which examined an earlier version of the standard to test its relevance and validity in the market; 
  • A Small and Medium-sized Enterprise report which addresses traceability challenges specific to smaller businesses;
  • A Technology Guidelines report which examines some best practices for capturing and transmitting information between partners along the supply chain and various enabling technologies; 
  • A Multi-Ingredient Products report which studies the question of whether Can-Trace was applicable to multi-ingredient products; 
  • An Integration Guidelines report which examined the extent to which Can-Trace in its current or amended form could accommodate the traceability requirements in a number of on- and off-farm producer-related programs; 
  • A Business Case report and Decision Support Tool to assist businesses to undertake a cost-benefit analysis of traceability in their own organizations.

Copies of the Canadian Food Traceability Data Standard Version 2.0, and other reports can be downloaded from the Can-Trace website at www.can-trace.org.

About Can-Trace
In July 2003, major Canadian trade associations, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and GS1 Canada (formerly the Electronic Commerce Council of Canada (ECCC)) convened a tracking and tracing initiative named Can-Trace. The objective of Can-Trace is to identify requirements for a whole-chain Canadian food industry traceability program. The Can-Trace initiative is managed by a Steering Committee, composed of trade association and government representatives and funded by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. GS1 Canada is the initiative’s secretariat. To learn more about Can-Trace, visit www.can-trace.org.

Can-Trace is funded in part under the Agriculture Policy Framework - a federal - provincial - territorial initiative managed by Agriculture and Agri-food Canada (AAFC).

About Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
AAFC is a government organization in the Minister of Agriculture’s portfolio. AAFC’s mandate is to provide information, research and technology, and to create policies and programs to achieve security of the food system, health of the environment and innovation for growth. To learn more about Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, visit www.agr.gc.ca

The Canadian Food Safety and Quality Program (CFSQP) works to increase long term growth, employment and competitiveness within Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada as part of their commitment to provide information, research and technology, and policies and programs to ensure security of the food system, health of the environment and to promote innovation for growth.

About GS1 Canada
GS1 Canada is a not-for-profit organization that promotes and maintains global standards for the identification of goods, locations and related e-commerce communication, such as bar code issuance and maintenance. GS1 Canada is the only authorized source for globally unique company prefixes in Canada, a standard term and condition of trade globally.  It provides a range of educational opportunities, maintains Canada’s national product registry, and offers one-stop access to product images and dimensions.  As technologies like Electronic Product Codes (EPC) and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) continue to drive the e-commerce revolution, GS1 Canada will provide the leadership to help ensure that Canadian companies can participate competitively. For more information, visit www.gs1ca.org.

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For more information, contact:
Mary Fuochi
GS1 Canada for Can-Trace
416-510-8039 ext. 2125