Traceability in Agri-food supply chains – How it works?

The idea of traceability is not new. It has been present in varying degrees in a number of supply chains, more so in the B2B sectors where transaction volumes are large. End-to-end traceability, however, was not widely adopted until the pandemic. The presumption up until now has been that the end-user is unconcerned about the product’s origin as long as it offers good value. But with traceability, consumers can know both the product’s origin and what happened to it as it passed through the supply chain.

The need for traceability in agriculture

The supply chain for a product can be so intricate that traceability is a prerequisite for many industries. Due to traceability, suppliers are able to respond swiftly to any challenges by maintaining a record of the full production and distribution history. For instance, in the event of a product recall, suppliers can identify the cause of the issue and direct distributors to take the product off the market. This shields both the consumer and the provider from any legal action and potentially hazardous products. Additionally, a product’s traceability can be utilized to demonstrate particular characteristics, such as its seeding procedures, country of origin, storage history, and much more. Transparency is desired when consumers become more knowledgeable about how goods are manufactured and the problems related to manufacturing.

How do traceability standards work?

In order to achieve full chain traceability, irrespective of technology, the GS1 Global Traceability Standard specifies a minimal set of traceability standards inside business operations. It provides a general foundation for developing a traceability system that makes use of other GS1 standards, including barcodes, data carriers, eCom, and EPCIS.


This standard permits a full-circle traceability system that connects data flow to tangible goods. To guarantee a focused and efficient recall in the case of a food outbreak, trading partners in the supply chain must share traceability information. The GS1 Global Traceability Compliance Criteria for Food, a document used to assess key components of a traceability system, are based on the GS1 Global Traceability Standard. With the aid of our traceability specialists and our Checklist, businesses may ensure the excellence and integrity of their current traceability system.

Gs1 Standards Enabling Traceability in the Food Supply Chain


Traceability’s Function in the Food Supply Chain

Requirements for food supply chain traceability are crucial in assisting companies to maintain competitiveness in both domestic and international markets while keeping public health in mind. Any company that deals with produce need to be able to track a product through all production steps, from distribution and transit to retail and finally to the consumer. In essence, food traceability systems include every stage of production, from farm to fork. Good traceability solutions are crucial in the food business since maintaining global traceability standards is as complicated as maintaining product traceability.

What elements make up the food traceability system?

Traceability’s two primary elements are Tracking and Tracing.


Tracking refers to the location of a certain product unit or batch at a specific point in the production process. It starts at the processing stage and continues through distribution and end-user consumption in a food supply chain, also known as the downstream path.


Tracing, often known as the upstream path, is the documentation of a product’s journey from its point of origin to the ultimate consumer.

How can it benefit farmers?

Traceability has many known advantages. However, they might act as trade barriers for small-scale farmers in developing nations, particularly those that grow horticulture and other fresh goods. Small-scale agricultural producers who lack the resources to adhere to increasingly stringent standards, especially those requiring the tracking and monitoring of environmental and supply chain variables through sophisticated technologies, may be excluded from the market for safe and traceable food.

For farmers, traceability is a useful commercial strategy. Product traceability is a requirement, not an option and the key is to figure out the best way to accomplish this and seize the possibilities that are present.

The future of food traceability solutions

Both people and the world we live in depend on food for survival. To solve the system’s multiple issues and create a healthy, nutrient-dense, and sustainable food ecosystem, a revolutionary approach is required. Technology plays a serious role in fast-tracking this shift. Solutions for food traceability enabled by blockchain offer a foundation to tackle these issues and upend the agri-food industry. In order to meet customer demand for transparent food, traceability makes it easier to monitor environmental, social, and economic processes in agriculture value chains.


Some of the advantages of food traceability are summarized as follows:

  • Transparency with customers.
  • Identifying and addressing concerns with food safety.
  • Optimizing the supply chain and cutting losses.
  • Verifying sustainable practice claims.
  • The food supply chains will be transformed by technology-driven traceability systems with constant data gathering throughout the supply chain.
  • A safely distributed ledger that enables data sharing and analysis.
  • Healthy and honest collaboration between stakeholders, manufacturers, and customers.


How do we help you maintain traceability and transparency in farm production?

With thorough record-keeping of working hours, pest protection, pesticide use, fertilizer, and the geographic locations of fields on which a particular crop is being cultivated, Sourcetrace encourages best production practices for crops. By using our food traceability systems, you may solve any quality control and risk management issues by linking the product in real-time to data that shows how it was handled during the growing season and in which location. This will provide a competitive advantage and make it simpler for buyers of harvested produce to access authentic data, instilling their trust in your company.

SourceTrace's software solutions have been deployed across 37 countries and 4 continents already. We are on a mission to make agriculture and food systems more sustainable. Get in touch and we will extend our expertise and commitment to you.

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About SourceTrace

SourceTrace is a SaaS (Software As A Service) company that focuses on sustainable agriculture and empowerment of farmers.

SourceTrace's advanced technology platform DATAGREEN provides comprehensive solutions to manage all aspects of the agricultural value chain.


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