Deakin AGIFT Cover

A new guide to help Australian agrifood businesses comprehensively track and trace food products from the farm gate to the dinner plate has officially been launched by Deakin University’s Centre for Supply Chain and Logistics.

The Australian Guide to Implementing Food Traceability (AGIFT) is an Australian-first and was developed in partnership with GS1 Australia, Woolworths Group, and Meat and Livestock Australia’s Integrity Systems.

The 11 learning modules in the guide cover everything from on-farm production, manufacturing, distribution, and retail to consumer information and exporting and are designed to be ‘stackable’, with businesses able to incorporate all modules into their operations or pick and choose the ones they need.

Hermione Parsons, industry professor and founding director of the Centre for Supply Chain and Logistics (CSCL), explained AGIFT builds national consistency and integrity into Australia’s food traceability systems and ultimately gives a clear line of sight along a product supply chain.

“The guide responds to the needs of both industry and consumers by explaining the ‘who, what, where, when and how’ of tracking and tracing food products,” said Parsons.

“It’s clear that the current standard of being able to trace one step forward and one step back within the supply chain is no longer enough, with consumers calling out for more detail about how their food is produced.

“Consumers want to know they can trust any claims a business is making about a food product being organic, Halal, or part of a sustainable supply chain. And, in a worst-case scenario, they want to know that any food safety notices, and product recalls will be handled as transparently and efficiently as possible,” she added.

Tony Boll, chair of Deakin University’s Food Traceability Laboratory and former chief executive South Pacific, DHL Global Forwarding, expects AGIFT to benefit consumers, growers, manufacturers, distributors and retailers alike.

“For the first time, the industry will have an easily accessible methodology that can be used by everyone along the length of the supply chain, enabling information to flow freely regardless of software or technology,” Boll said.

“And with Australia’s recent announcement that it aims to boost its food export target to A$100bn by 2030, the timing has never been better.”

Chief customer officer at GS1 Australia, Marcel Sieira, said the guide provides clear recommendations on how to implement standards-based traceability processes and systems, enabling greater interoperability across and between all industries.

“Effective traceability systems are critical to Australian industry in export markets as we are facing increasing pressure from greater traceability requirements and regulations across the region,” noted Sieira.

Additionally, Ram Akella, head of business solutions at Woolworths Group, said the guide will help retailers, brands and producers deliver on increasing customer expectations.

“Customers are increasingly interested in understanding the story of where their food comes from,” said Akella.

“Information about provenance, quality, sustainability credentials and growing methods are all examples of the rich data we can better share with customers across their shopping basket, based on an industry-wide standard set by the guide.”