Woolworths is said to become the first Australian supermarket to trial data embedded (or 2D) barcodes in stores from August.

Woolworths to trial new barcode

Woolworths is said to become the first Australian supermarket to trial data embedded (or 2D) barcodes in stores from August.
The trial has the potential to help reduce the millions of tonnes of food waste generated in Australia each year, and will eliminate the risk of customers purchasing expired products.
In collaboration with Woolworths, Hilton Foods and Ingham’s will start placing 2D barcodes on fresh meat and poultry products sold via Woolworths supermarkets nationally.
Woolworths general manager of business enablement Richard Plunkett said: “We’re proud to be the first Australian supermarket to invest in this technology, and hope it can help us further reduce food waste.
“2D barcodes have immense potential and we’re excited to see how they will improve food safety, traceability and stock management.”
For the past 45 years retailers have used 1D barcodes that identify the object. Unlike traditional barcodes, 2D barcodes contain information about the product’s batch, supplier, use-by date, and serial numbers at the point of sale. The barcodes store data in two dimensions, rather than in just a series of black and white bars and look like checkerboards or a series of traditional barcodes stacked atop one another
Currently the product recall process requires all recalled products to be removed from supermarket shelves and disposed of. The information supplied by 2D barcodes will allow retailers to pinpoint the specific batch affected and trace it back through the production line, making it easier to identify the source of contamination and avoid sending unaffected products to landfill.
The ability to add expiry and best before dates to a product’s barcode will also help eliminate any risk of retailers selling out of date products to customers by removing the need for team members to manually label products. When scanned at the point of sale, customers will be alerted that the product is past its expiry date and the system won’t allow the purchase.
Beyond food safety and food waste, data embedded barcodes have the potential to improve the traceability of the farm-to-fork journey in the future. Ingham’s has partnered with Woolworths to investigate the potential of the new barcodes on its products.
Ingham’s head of sales – Woolworths Ed Alexander said: “Ingham’s is proud to be a pioneer in the 2D barcode initiative with Woolworths.
“Food safety and traceability are paramount to our business. Delivering quality products that incorporate cutting edge technology to enhance these elements and provide a range of benefits to consumers is a step we gladly embrace.
“We’re very excited to be partnering with Woolworths in the initial roll out of this technology and look forward to seeing the real-time and long-term benefits it will bring.”
GS1, which develops and maintains global standards for business communication, has been assisting Woolworths with its trial.
CEO and executive director of GS1 Australia Maria Palazzolo said: “Four decades on from inception, barcode scanning technology in Australia continues to evolve.
“The fresh food sector relies on accurate and complete data to track a product’s journey all the way from the farm to the supermarket shelves. It’s great to see Woolworths leading the way in bringing 2D barcodes to shoppers at point-of-sale.”
Successful trials in Germany, the UK and Thailand have shown material benefits for both customers and suppliers.
A number of other suppliers across health and beauty, freezer and long-life categories have introduced 2D barcodes in anticipation of future barcode adoption.
Woolworths will work with industry bodies and suppliers to develop a phased roll-out plan to help ensure more suppliers can adopt the new printing technologies.

From MHD magazine: Recall

Management of product recalls in a supply chain

Faster recalls and improved consumer safety should be part of any organisation’s traceability capability and product recall management plan.
Retailers, manufacturers and consumers are growing increasingly concerned about the number of products being recalled or withdrawn.
The challenge
According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), there were 593 products (excluding therapeutic goods) recalled in Australia in 2017, 66 of those from the food and grocery sector alone.
As supply chains continue to span the globe, these product recall events have shown that delivery of timely and accurate information to trading partners and regulatory agencies is paramount in the protection and safety of the consumer, the company and the brand.
The way to total recall 
In recognition of the need to build consumer safety into the supply chain, the GS1 Australia Recall service was developed in collaboration with Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC), the ACCC, national retailers and a number of Australian and international food and grocery manufacturers.
Launched in partnership with the AFGC in August 2011 for the food and beverage industry, Recall has assisted over 300 Australian food and beverage companies with the development and implementation of their product recall and withdrawal management process. In 2013, a healthcare sector portal was launched, followed by one for the general merchandise and apparel industries in 2014. Total Recall service subscriptions now approach 700, demonstrating a growing Recall community.
The Recall service is a web-based portal that enables manufacturers, suppliers and distributors to efficiently, accurately and securely communicate product recalls to customers and regulators. Where relevant, these trading partners can advise via the portal their updates and status for each recall advice.
Based on GS1 standards and global best practice, the service is designed to increase the speed and accuracy in the removal of unsafe or unsuitable products from the supply chain.
Industry continues its involvement with the development and support of the Recall service through an advisory group consisting of associations, retailers / recipients, distributors and manufacturers. The advisory group ensures the Recall service meets the ongoing requirements of industry to properly create, exchange and manage recalls and non-recall notices.
Recall – part of an organisation’s traceability capability
GS1 Australia’s head of supply chain improvement Peter Chambers said the increasing demands for product safety for consumers and an effective product recall management process is a fundamental building block in today’s supply chain pyramid.
“GS1 Recall should be part of every organisation’s traceability capability. The service uses global GS1 standards and ISO standards and is clearly supported by industry and regulators including FSANZ and ACCC,” said Mr Chambers.
In the event of a product recall or withdrawal, Recall ensures affected products are correctly identified and expressly removed or quarantined, targeting all affected parties with the right information to allow them to remove only the items identified in the notice.

“Ensuring your company is trained and ready to execute a recall effectively and accurately in a highly stressful situation minimises consumer harm and business interruption.”

Managing director at Drury Orchards Rick Drury said: “If we have to notify our customers of a recall, we know we will be able to do so quickly. With GS1 Recall, we can be sure that the notification will reach the people it needs to, when it needs to, so they can act quickly.”
GS1 Australia provides complete training and ongoing support for both Recall sponsors and recipients so users can be reassured they will be adequately prepared to action a recall or withdrawal notice, safely and securely online.
“Recall is the only product recall notification system that is documented in the FSANZ Food Industry Recall Protocol. Therefore, companies using the Recall portal to communicate a notice can be assured they are meeting their regulatory requirements,” Mr Chambers said.
“The ability of Recall to assemble, exchange and receive information from and between trading partners enables companies to record and report on the progress of a product recall.”
With current subscribers including major retailers such as Coles, Woolworths, Metcash, Costco, Priceline and Harris Farm Markets, Recall is the key to a more effective product recall management process.
Nestlé eBusiness manager Mandeep Sodhi said: “Nestlé has integrated GS1 Recall within our own product recall and withdrawal processes as it provides far greater speed, accuracy and control over such a critical event.”
Recall has also been certified by HACCP Australia as being effective and suitable for businesses operating a HACCP food safety program and is also mentioned in the FSANZ Food Industry Recall Protocol.
‘Mock recalls’ get you ready for the real thing
Recall is also helping organisations with a critical part of product recall preparation – undertaking ‘mock recalls’.
In the Recall portal, a mock recall is required twice a year for all businesses that manufacture, import, distribute or wholesale food products as part of their recall procedure in line with the Food Industry Recall Protocol set by FSANZ for annual mock events. Mock recalls are an essential part of HACCP, ISO and many other quality certification programs.
“Ensuring your company is trained and ready to execute a recall effectively and accurately in a highly stressful situation minimises consumer harm and business interruption. It is of critical importance for businesses of any size to put recall plans and procedures into practice with mock recalls,” Mr Chambers said.
Effective mock recall drills provide valuable insights into handling the real thing when it happens. The ‘mock recall’ function in Recall is designed to be part of a full mock recall process in a secure environment, helping organisations find and bridge any gaps before they encounter a real-life recall situation.
For more information contact GS1 Australia on 1300 BARCODE or visit www.gs1au.org/our-services/recall.

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