Standard Changes for Barcodes in the Food Industry

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Do you check to ensure the product you are purchasing does not have an expired “best by” or “use by” date before you purchase it?  You may assume that the products you purchase are fresh, and leave the responsibility to the grocer.  However, wouldn’t it be nice to have an alert before you paid for the item? Barcodes in the food industry can serve that purpose!!

Barcodes in the food industryIn the near future this information will be included in the new GS1 US & GS1 Canada standard that was just recently announced.  Under this new barcode standard, finished products in consumer packaged goods, fresh foods, grocery, and foodservice across North America will include extended product attributes.  These attributes will include additional information about the food products, such as batch and lot numbers, “best by” and “use by” dates, and other critical details.  For now, implementation of barcodes in the food industry will remain voluntary.  Additional information can be found here.

Details include product case labeling, specific guidelines for using human readable information, and techniques for capturing multiple product attributes in one scan of the GS1-128 barcode. The new guidelines and supporting documentation also explain how adoption of GS1-128 can streamline business processes and improve product traceability and food safety in the supply chain. You will find category-specific requirements and technical considerations for the application of case labels, including printing specifications and placement of symbols on the container.

Barcodes in the food industry

“This document has far-reaching benefits for food manufacturers, retailers, and distributors in Canada and the United States. It represents North American industries coming together to define the foundation for the deployment of the new business-to-business applications that are needed to power more efficient and visible supply chains,” suggested Mike Sadiwnyk, SVP for Global Relations and Chief Standards Officer at GS1 Canada.

L-Tron specializes in tracking solutions for the food and beverage industry. Give us a call if you are interested in taking advantage of this new bar coding standard or any other food & beverage tracking solutions.  We will be glad to help you with suggestions on how you can work with your suppliers to utilize this great new technology.