Food and Beverages Blog Archives - rfxcel.com
EnglishFrenchGermanItalianPortugueseRussianSpanish
Part of Antares Vision Group

Food Traceability Data: Not Just for Compliance Anymore

As the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues to evolve its traceability and modernization initiatives across the U.S. food supply chain, the need for more accurate food traceability data is more important than ever.

Foundationally, the FDA’s initiatives require companies to have digital traceability systems in place that facilitate greater food safety. But food traceability data means more than ensuring you’re complying with regulations: It offers significant business value. Let’s take a look.

FDA’s food traceability initiatives: a refresher

In 2011, Congress enacted the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) to regulate the way foods are grown, harvested, and processed in the United States. The law transforms the nation’s food safety system from an after-the-fact response to foodborne illness to a proactive posture aimed at prevention.

To address the rapid and effective tracking and tracing outlined in FSMA, the FDA in April 2019 launched the New Era of Smarter Food Safety, a tech-enabled approach to food traceability to ensure food safety, and the New Era of Smarter Safety Blueprint (July 2020), which outlined the Agency’s vision for how to get there and included the Food Traceability Proposed Rule, which defines specific traceability recordkeeping requirements for foods on its Food Traceability List.

Food traceability data delivers benefits beyond mere compliance

Although food traceability data serves as the cornerstone of effective recall management and outbreak prevention as required by the FDA, it means much more than compliance. Here are three ways food traceability data can drive business value to support sustainable growth.

Create operational efficiencies

Food traceability data yields complete, real-time visibility into operations across every node in the supply chain. This empowers food companies to take immediate action, solve problems, coordinate with partners and regulators, and keep things moving.

For example, by tracking a product’s ingredients from harvest through production through the last mile to delivery, you can quickly trace raw materials backward and forward, pinpoint supply chain weaknesses or trouble spots, and strengthen your recall program and minimize the impact of recalls. And with a traceability system that allows you to monitor products anywhere in transit, you can collect data on environmental conditions, track the location of all your deliveries, and set precise parameters for alerts.

This food traceability data allows you to proactively protect your shipments, safeguard their environmental integrity, track their position on land, sea, and air, and intervene immediately should something seem awry, such as a spike in temperature or a route diversion. Add critical tracking events (CTEs) and other information (e.g., quality inspections) to the process and you’ve got an indelible product provenance from farm to table.

Build consumer engagement and trust

These days, consumers are more attuned than ever to family health and finances. They want to know more about what they’re eating, such as ingredients, how food is raised or grown, and the safety and environmental practices used to produce it. They want to feel good about what they eat and where they are spending their money. By supplying information that meets this demand, you build trust and loyalty and build a community of customers who will advocate for your products.

The simple truth is that food traceability data creates tremendous opportunities to communicate with consumers and nurture more committed relationships. You can back your claims and prove your product is what you say it is.

Protect your brand

This dovetails with consumer engagement and trust. With modernized, secure, and compliant food traceability protocols, you can better collaborate with partners and authorities if there’s a recall. In this scenario, you’re not only protecting consumers from a health hazard — you’re safeguarding your brand from bad publicity. And with a transparent approach to engaging with customers about the foods they consume, you create a strong brand image that conveys trust, credibility, and reliability. You can even use your food traceability data as a core differentiator in your value proposition messaging.

Final thoughts

Food traceability data has always been important, but the FDA has clearly put it center stage with FSMA, the New Era of Smarter Food Safety, the Food Traceability Proposed Rule, and the Food Traceability List.

Do not expect this to change.

rfxcel believes industry leaders will see traceability as an investment in their businesses and brands, not a compliance mandate from the government. If fact, savvy companies will know the FDA’s initiatives are an opportunity to be involved in shaping the future of the U.S. food supply chain. Keep an eye out this summer for more from rfxcel about how you can tap into the FDA’s initiatives to help lead the transformation of the U.S. food supply chain. As we said above, this is a moment of opportunity for the food industry. Don’t miss the boat.

In the meantime, take a look at our solutions for food and beverage:

Contact us today for more information and to schedule a short demo of our food traceability solutions. Get started now and take advantage of all the opportunities food traceability data can create for you.

Food Traceability Regulations in the United States: A Timeline

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is orchestrating the construction of a more robust, technology-driven approach to food traceability and safety. And it’s happening as the food industry is undergoing major change, including scores of new foods being introduced to the market, rising consumer demand for more information about the food they buy, the development of more sophisticated production and delivery methods, and a growing push for digitization of the supply chain.

As regulations in the United States continue to evolve, manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, and retailers need to keep a finger on the pulse of the latest developments. Today, we’ll help with a quick rundown of what’s happened with food traceability over the last year.

Food traceability regulations in the United States: 2020-present

On September 23, 2020, the FDA published “Requirements for Additional Traceability Records for Certain Foods” on its Food Traceability List. Referred to as the “Food Traceability Proposed Rule,” it’s part of the FDA’s New Era of Smarter Food Safety Blueprint and aims to standardize the data elements and information required to rapidly and accurately identify foods that may be causing illness. It defines additional recordkeeping requirements for businesses that manufacture, process, pack, or hold foods on the FDA’s Food Traceability List, which must establish and maintain records containing key data elements (KDEs) associated with specific critical tracking events (CTEs).

In January 2021, the FDA made clarifying modifications to the Food Traceability List and published a detailed FAQ that answered commonly asked questions that emerged following the announcement of the Proposed Rule. In February 2021, the comments period for the modifications closed. The FDA has until November 2022 to finalize it.

More about the New Era of Smarter Food Safety Blueprint

These initiatives are part of the FDA’s New Era of Smarter Food Safety. Announced in April 2019, it envisions a modern approach to ensuring food safety through digital, tech-enabled traceability.

The New Era of Smarter Food Safety Blueprint, announced in July 2020, outlines the FDA’s methodology for achieving its traceability and safety goals. It’s based on the following four pillars, which leverage a range of technologies, analytics, business models, modernization, and values as its building blocks:

1. Tech-enabled food traceability

A supply chain that includes paper-based recordkeeping and yields insufficient data makes it difficult to track and trace foods rapidly. Fast, accurate food traceability is essential to safeguarding consumers’ health — and your brand reputation and bottom line.

For example, modernized food traceability that leverages the latest technologies and integrates expanding data streams empowers supply chain stakeholders to identify an outbreak and trace a contaminated food product’s origin within minutes — or even seconds — and be proactive about getting the product off of shelves.

2. Smarter tools and approaches for prevention and outbreak response

In addition to better food traceability, the FDA wants to ensure the root cause of an outbreak or contamination can be easily identified to support a prevention-based approach. To do this, stakeholders need to incorporate new knowledge while continuously assessing how they can make processes and communications more effective and efficient. As more data becomes available, the use of predictive analytics tools becomes increasingly important to predict when a significant food event may occur. With this information, manufacturers can prevent a contaminated food products from entering the supply chain or target efforts to remove a potentially contaminated product from the market.

3. New business models and retail modernization

As the industry continues to find new ways to produce and distribute food, the FDA is seeking to explore new approaches in ensuring food traceability and safety. This includes:

  • Educating supply chain actors on the importance of food safety issues
  • Adapting FDA oversight to ensure the safety of novel ingredients, new foods, and new food production methods
  • Advancing the safety of foods sold in traditional retail establishments
4. Food safety culture

The FDA wants to encourage an environment of support for a stronger food safety culture on farms, in food facilities, and in homes. If the food industry does not commit to embracing food traceability and safety, real improvements will be difficult to achieve.

Final thoughts

We can be certain of two things when it comes to food traceability regulations in the United States: they’re going to keep evolving and they’re not going away. The good news is advancements in technology are making it profoundly easier — and even more affordable — to ensure food traceability across the entire supply chain. Yes, the FDA’s proposed requirements technically apply only to items on the Food Traceability List, but the Agency is encouraging voluntary adoption of these practices industry-wide. Savvy food companies will see this as an opportunity to get involved early and be part of the process, helping to set the industry’s regulatory course while going a long way to secure their own business.

rfxcel can help you comply with U.S. food traceability regulations today, tomorrow — always. From raw ingredients to finished goods, our rfxcel Traceability System (rTS) offers end-to-end food supply chain traceability and visibility. Our rfxcel Integrated Monitoring (rIM) is a real-time traceability and supply chain visibility solution that helps you remotely monitor products in transit And our MobileTraceability app brings the power of rTS to every node of your operations, including places that have traditionally been “blind spots.” Contact us today to arrange a demo.

Mandatory Dairy Product Labeling in Russia to Begin in Two Months

It’s going to be a busy year for dairy product labeling in Russia. In fact, it’s going to be a busy year for product labeling in Russia generally. A quick look at our blog reveals that the National Track and Trace Digital System, or Chestny ZNAK, is not relenting on its goal of transforming Russia’s supply chain by 2024:

But let’s stay focused on dairy product labeling, which is scheduled to commence on June 1 for two product categories, then will be phased in for two other categories later in the year.

Dairy product labeling in Russia: background

The Chestny ZNAK pilot for dairy product labeling from July 15, 2019, to December 31, 2020. The dairy supply chain has a unique configuration because Chestny ZNAK will share track and trace duties with the “Mercury” electronic veterinary certification system, which tracks animal products in Russia.

Dairy product labeling requires a DataMatrix code containing four data points: a 14-digit Global Trade Item Number (GTIN), a 13-digit serial number, a 4-digit verification key, and an expiration date.

Other dairy product labeling requirements include the following:

  • Product packaging must have a blank field up to 15×15 mm to accommodate the DataMatrix code.
  • Caps on PET bottles must be able to accommodate either printing or labeling with a laser.
  • Manufacturers can have unusually shaped cartons or bottles tested to determine if the form factor affects dairy product labeling and scanning accuracy/reliability.
  • Aggregation is required; the parent-child relationship must be maintained between the aggregation and the individual units within it.

If you want to learn more about Russian dairy product labeling, download our “Russia Chestny ZNAK and the Dairy Industry” white paper. It’s fully updated for 2021 and really drills down into the details.

While we’re at it, if you want to learn about product labeling and serialization for all of the industries regulated in Russia, download our “Overview of Chestny ZNAK Compliance for Key Industries.” This is also fully updated for 2021 and is our most comprehensive publication about Russian supply chain compliance.

The June 1 dairy labeling requirements

Mandatory dairy product labeling begins June 1 for cheeses and ice cream and other edible ice with or without cocoa. Only serialized products can be sold after this date. However, products produced or imported into Russia before June 1 may be sold until the product’s expiration date.

Companies were permitted to begin labeling these cheese and ice cream products as early as January 20, 2021. They were also allowed to transfer dairy product labeling data to the Government Information System for Marking (GIS MT), which catalogs all labeled goods in Russia’s supply chain. To transfer data to GIS MT, you must be registered with Chestny ZNAK.

The table below shows Russia’s product classification codes (OKPD2) and the corresponding Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) Combined Nomenclature of Foreign Economic Activity (TN VED) codes for labeling these products. This information comes from Chestny ZNAK.

Russia Dairy Product Labeling

 

Final thoughts

rfxcel is the leader in Chestny ZNAK compliance. Not just for dairy product labeling — for labeling requirements in all regulated industries. We know these regulations can be tough to decipher. To help, we have useful resources, like the stories we linked above, our Chestny ZNAK refresher course, our white papers, and our webinars.

These are great places to start, but the best way to ensure you’re prepared to comply with Russia dairy product labeling requirements is to talk with us directly. When we say we’re the leader in Russian compliance, consider our credentials:

  • We’re an official integration, software, and tested solution partner with the Center for Research in Perspective Technologies (CRPT), which operates Chestny ZNAK.
  • We were recently accredited as an IT company by the Ministry of Digital Development, Communications, and Mass Media.
  • We’re one of the few providers with active implementations in Russia.
  • We’ve tripled our workforce in Russia over the last year.
  • Our Moscow-based team provides our clients, which include major global consumer goods and pharmaceutical companies, the quickest time to market while fully automating their compliance reporting.

We’ve also demonstrated that our solutions, including our signature rfxcel Traceability System (rTS), Compliance Management (rCM), and Serialization Processing (rSP), can meet the stringent Russia dairy serialization requirements and ensure you stay compliant. In fact, we had to prove this to the CRPT to be named an official partner. rTS works seamlessly with Chestny ZNAK, including a Russian-language user interface that makes integration and startup much quicker.

So contact us today learn more about how we can help you with dairy product labeling and other Chestny ZNAK compliance. No matter how far along you are in your preparations to comply, you should talk to us — even if you’re already working with another provider. Our powerful software ensures companies in any industry remain compliant with Russia’s complex regulations.

 

 

 

 

Russia Chestny ZNAK Bottled Drinking Water Pilot Ending Soon

A year ago today — April 1, 2020 — Russia started its Chestny ZNAK bottled drinking water pilot. Chestny ZNAK is Russia’s National Track and Trace Digital System, which is transforming how the country runs and regulates the supply chain for everything from pharmaceuticals to fur. It’s managed by the Center for Research in Perspective Technologies (CRPT).

If all goes as planned, the Chestny ZNAK bottled drinking water pilot will wrap up on June 1. Let’s take a quick look at the pilot and what we can expect going forward.

The Chestny ZNAK bottled drinking water pilot

As we said, the pilot (or “experiment,” as these projects are called in Russia) began on April 1, 2020, and is scheduled to end just two months from now, on June 1. The bottled drinking water category includes mineral and carbonated waters, waters without sweeteners or other flavoring, and non-carbonated water. The table below shows the Eurasian Economic Union Combined Nomenclature of Foreign Economic Activity (TN VED) code for the products that must be labeled, as provided by Chestny ZNAK.

 

BOTTLED DRINKING WATER

Pilot: April 1, 2020–June 1, 2021

TN VED CodeDescription
2201Beverages and spirits and vinegar: waters, including natural or artificial mineral waters and aerated (i.e., carbonated) waters, not containing added sugar or other sweetening matter nor flavored; ice and snow

 

Like pilots for other industries, the Chestny ZNAK bottled drinking water pilot tests end-to-end tracking and tracing of marked goods from manufacturing sites or import/customs locations to final sale to consumers. It’s also designed to determine the best approaches for marking and tracing products, including testing methods of applying codes to different types of packaging, such as PET bottles and bottles with irregular shapes.

Chestny ZNAK, which is now in its fourth year of operation, generally requires products to be labeled with a 2D DataMatrix code containing four data points: a Global Trade Item Number (GTIN), a serial number, a verification key, and a verification code (i.e., crypto code).

The DataMatrix codes being used in the Chestny ZNAK bottled drinking water pilot must contain three data points: a 14-digit GTIN, a 13-character serial number, and a 4-character verification code. An optional fourth data point can include information such as the minimum retail price and expiration date. Product packaging is required to have a blank field up to 15×15mm to accommodate the code.

The pilot’s goals include the following:

  • Supply chain actors order DataMatrix codes and apply them to products.
  • All labeling information is transferred electronically to Chestny ZNAK.
  • Products in shipping packages are aggregated; codes for each unit in the aggregation are also aggregated.
  • Marked products enter circulation.
  • Products are tracked and traced in the supply chain, and stakeholders exchange Universal Transfer Documents (UTDs) to record transfer of codes.
  • Consumers purchase goods, which are withdrawn from circulation at checkout via point-of-sale cash registers and scanning devices.

Final thoughts

The CRPT has not announced when mandatory marking of bottled water products will begin. If the pilot ends on schedule, there will likely be a final report and review period, so it could be late 2021 or even early 2022 before you’ll have to comply.

Regardless, the time to think about compliance is now. If you want more details about the Chestny ZNAK bottled drinking water pilot — or any of the regulated industries — start by downloading our white papers. We’ve updated all of our Russia white papers for 2021 and included even more details about what you need to know and do to be compliant.

You should also contact us. We’ve been prepared for Russia’s regulations since 2018. Here a just a few of the reasons why we’re the leader in Chestny ZNAK compliance:

  • We are an official software and integration partner of the CRPT.
  • We’re accredited as an IT company by the Ministry of Digital Development, Communications, and Mass Media.
  • We are one of only a few providers with in-country implementations; clients include global consumer goods and pharma companies.
  • Our powerful software ensures companies in any industry will remain compliant while mastering their supply chains with end-to-end traceability and rich, actionable data mined right down to the unit level.

We’ll be posting more about what to expect with Chestny ZNAK requirements in 2021. There’s definitely a lot going on — including pilots for biologically active food additives and beer getting under way now — so check back often.

Food Traceability Gets Precise: The State of the Art

In recent years, the food industry has been under increasing pressure to trace products from farm to table. When COVID came onto the scene, the need for food traceability only intensified, as consumers wanted assurance from retailers and their supply chain partners that they could rely on the safety of their food.

Food traceability, however, is only as good as the degree to which it is executed up and down the supply chain. In order to improve supply chain management, facilitate feedback for food quality and safety, and differentiate your food product from your competitors’, you need to get precise in your traceability efforts.

Precision food traceability

Precision food traceability refers to the in-depth tracing of supply chain data and critical tracking events (CTEs) backward (to the source of the product) and forward (everywhere a food product has been used) to facilitate the quick and effective review of every action taken related to a product at each stage. With the ability to pinpoint a particular food product’s movement and characteristics, precision traceability not only offers detailed information about a product’s freshness, nutritional values, and logistics, it also supports proactive, informed decision-making should a food safety event occur.

Serialization is an essential tool in a precision food traceability system. The process of creating a unique code for each product, serialization delivers granular data about the food product to provide significantly more end-to-end visibility. With the ability to track the product at every stage, item-level traceability makes it easy to capture key data elements (KDEs), which could be used to trigger an investigation and reduce traceback time in the event of a food safety issue.

For example, let’s say you want to track a harvest operator’s location beyond the primary farmer and farm. Serialization gives you access to data down to the person who picked a vegetable, and from which row, ranch, or plot. For meat products, you can quickly trace back to not just the exact animal, but also to its pen location, feed, and even medicines.

With the ability to track outcomes (e.g., quality inspections and safety test results) and associate them to the product beyond the original facility, you can look back at any event in a product’s lifecycle even after it’s been shipped from the original facility. Precision food traceability makes it possible to track customer feedback and connect it to supply chain data points to deliver a complete picture of the product’s safety and performance. You can also evaluate how you’re doing on a sustainability front by tracking post-consumer activity, such as recycling and waste.

Specific uses for precision food traceability

On its journey from farm to table, a food product may be exposed to disease-causing organisms and food safety hazards. As the volume of international trade expands, so does the potential for transmission of pathogens or chemical contamination.

We all know problems can arise anywhere in the supply chain. Containing ingredients — perhaps from all over the world — and processed in different facilities and handled by wholesalers, retailers, and transportation companies, a food item is handled by many actors before ending up on the consumer’s plate. A precision food traceability system is paramount to ensuring food safety and minimizing the impact should an event arise.

Precision food traceability makes it easy to investigate food safety issues, identify the source of contamination, assess the scope of impact, and resolve the problem quickly. With the ability to trace back to the health of the animal, feed production, rearing, transportation, and more, you can quickly identify the source of infection or prohibited additives and take preventive and control measures to avoid the introduction of the contaminant.

Beyond safety, precision traceability also supports profitability. With detailed food traceability data, you can intelligently evaluate your operations, optimize efficiencies, analyze yield, and even apply consumer feedback to measure return on production investment. Precision traceability can also reduce food waste by tracking and recording data through every stage of the supply chain.

Final thoughts

Maintaining food safety is critical to your overall success and, more important, consumer health. The better and more precise your tracing system, the better equipped you will be to isolate the source of an issue and address quality control problems, quickly and efficiently. By minimizing the production and distribution of substandard and perhaps even illegal products, you reduce the risk of recalls, negative publicity, and liability, and have a “firewall” to protect your brand in the process.

Keeping tabs on every event related to your food supply can seem daunting but rfxcel can help. Offering the most complete and flexible raw materials and finished goods traceability solution in the food and beverage industry, we can help optimize your supply chain operations, meet compliance requirements, track products, and increase business value.

What Does It Mean to Be a CRPT Partner in Russia’s Supply Chain?

The Center for Research in Perspective Technologies (CRPT) operates Russia’s National Track and Trace Digital System. Known as Chestny ZNAK, the supply chain system was established by Federal Law No. 425-FZ, signed on December 29, 2017. rfxcel has been prepared for these regulations since 2018, and is now an established CRPT partner.

Let’s take a look at what it means to be a CRPT partner, including the benefits it brings to our customers.

What is the CRPT?

The CRPT is a public-private partnership akin to the European Medicines Verification Organization. Its many responsibilities include generating the serial numbers and verification codes (i.e., crypto codes) required by Chestny ZNAK.

Business giant USM is the CRPT’s principal partner, with a 51 percent stake. USM was founded in 2012 and has interests in many of Russia’s key sectors, including metals/mining, telecom, technology, and internet. According to USM, Chestny ZNAK is the country’s first public-private partnership in the IT sector and the first of its kind at the federal level. Private investments totaling more than 200 billion rubles ($2.5 billion) are expected over the next 15 years.

rfxcel as CRPT partner

Last year, rfxcel earned official CRPT partner status in 10 of the 11 industries for which the organization has chosen partners: medications, footwear, tires, light industry, perfumes, dairy, bottled drinking water, bicycles, wheelchairs, and tobacco. Furthermore, we are the only official CRPT partner for several of these industries.

To be named a CRPT partner, a solutions provider must prove it can work with Chestny ZNAK, comply with its strict serialization requirements, and support companies that do business in Russia.

For example, to be named an official integration, software, and tested solution partner for medications, members of our Moscow team met with the CRPT to demonstrate the rfxcel Traceability System, answer technical questions, and share examples of compliance reports. After an internal evaluation, the CRPT notified rfxcel that it had validated its solution and designated the company as an official partner on its website.

What does being a CRPT partner mean for our customers?

The benefits we bring as a CRPT partner are pretty straightforward. First and foremost, we have proven that our signature rfxcel Traceability System integrates seamlessly with Chestny ZNAK and meets regulatory requirements for key industries.

Russian law calls for serialization, aggregation, unit- and batch-level traceability, crypto codes, and electronic reporting and records management. Our rfxcel Serialization Processing and Compliance Management solutions ensure you’ll comply with these mandated labeling and reporting requirements. Plus, our solutions have a Russian-language user interface that makes integration and start-up much quicker.

The other benefit of being a CRPT partner is that we’re trusted. The CRPT knows our solutions, knows our team in Moscow, and knows that we take compliance very seriously. They know our customers include major pharmaceutical and consumer goods brands. They know we’re committed to making the transformation of Russia’s supply chain smooth and effective, and support the mission “to guarantee the authenticity and declared quality of goods being purchased by customers.”

So, when you work with rfxcel in Russia, you’re working with a CRPT partner that is equipped to deliver quick integration and compliance today, tomorrow — always.

Sneak peek: another recent rfxcel accomplishment in Russia

We’ll share more details about this soon, but earlier this month we received accreditation as an IT company from Russia’s Ministry of Digital Development, Communications, and Mass Media. The Ministry develops and implements national policy and legal regulations for a range of industries, from telecommunications to Internet governance.

That’s all we’ll say for now. The official IT company accreditation is another reason why we continue to be the leader in Chestny ZNAK integration, operability, and compliance.

Final thoughts

We are proud of being an official CRPT partner. It’s proof that our software ensures companies in any industry will remain compliant while they do business in Russia.

Contact us today for more information about how we can help you succeed with Chestny ZNAK. And be sure to download our white paper about Russian compliance. Fully updated for 2021, including information about new pilots for beer and beer-based drinks and biologically active food additives , it’s an easy-to-understand guide to Russia’s strict supply chain regulations for every industry.

Meat Traceability in the Food Supply Chain: Getting to Know Your Protein

Today’s consumers demand transparency, particularly when it comes to the meat they consume. They want more information about how and where the livestock was raised and processed — not just from a nutritional standpoint, but also with regard to food safety practices, animal care practices, environmental impact, and worker safety. Put simply, they want meat traceability.

Consumers are making an emotional connection to the foods they buy and consume; they want to feel good about where their money is going and what they are putting into their bodies. While this trend has been growing over the past several years, it has gained significant traction recently. Add the pandemic into the mix, and you’ve got an even greater demand for transparency amid an environment driven by heightened health and financial concerns.

The supply chain saw significant disruption during the pandemic, as high infection rates in processing plants led to a marked curtail in operations in pork, beef, and poultry plants—and in some cases, plant closures. In fact, roughly 65 percent of meat processing plants experienced outbreaks and 20 percent were forced to temporarily suspend operations, which, in a consolidated meat industry, had a ripple effect across the country. As the outbreaks played out publicly, consumers grew even warier of the origins of their meats.

Adding more complexity to the issue, bad weather over the past year meant smaller corn and soybean harvests, making it harder and more expensive for cattle, hog, and poultry farmers to feed their herds. The last time the industry saw such high grain prices was during the 2012 U.S. drought.

As meat supplies diminished, consumer demand grew, with more people stuck inside and forced to cook and eat at home. The result: price inflation at the grocery stores, making it more expensive for consumers to feed their families. As they pay more for the foods that nourish their families and read headlines about the pandemic’s effects on the food supply chain, their demand for transparency has only become greater.

Meat traceability is more essential than ever

As we usher in a new era in food safety, meat traceability is no longer a “nice-to-have” — it’s essential. With increasing consumer demand for more information about where their protein is coming from, clear documentation from the farm to the end product is a must.

The Global Food Traceability Center defines traceability as the “ability to access any or all information relating to a food under consideration, throughout its entire life cycle, by means of recorded identifications.” This goes beyond the information itself; it’s about linking the information throughout the supply chain and ensuring coordinated processes and end-to-end meat traceability.

The good news is that tech-enabled meat traceability doesn’t have to be complicated, and its benefits are vast and powerful. From increased meat quality, improved food safety, and fewer product recalls to better inventory tracking and superior customer service, traceability delivers a range of benefits that go far beyond simply responding to consumers’ demand for information. With visibility across the entire supply chain, manufacturers can document and link the production, processing, and distribution chain of their protein products, which results in greater organizational efficiencies, reduced market and operational risks, a stronger competitive advantage, and a better brand image.

Final thoughts

While challenges continue to emerge amid a rapidly evolving global landscape, brands have an opportunity to tell a story that evokes a positive emotion and inspires a purchase. Consumers want to know that their meats were produced ethically and safely, and, of course, pose no risk to themselves or their families. As more and more people scan labels and packages for information about where their food came from and how it was made, transparency will play an increasingly crucial role in a meat producer’s brand image. It really comes down to trust: If consumers don’t trust your brand, they’ll be more than happy to buy another company’s product. Meat traceability satiates a consumer’s need for information, which builds trust with your brand.

From farm to table, rfxcel’s food supply chain solutions have you covered. Our award-winning Traceability System (rTS) is the basis of a modernized, digital supply chain with fully customizable and scalable solutions that yield complete end-to-end meat traceability. It is the foundation of a digital supply chain and a successful food recall management system that operates with surgical precision.

Offering the most complete and flexible raw materials and meat traceability solution for food and beverage, we’ll help you to optimize your supply chain operations while catering to the consumers’ increasing demand for information about the meats they consume.

New Russian Serialization Pilot for Biologically Active Food Additives

A new Russian serialization pilot for biologically active food additives was announced last month. It’s scheduled to run from April 1 of this year to March 1, 2022.

The government has not said much beyond about the pilot. It has revealed a lot more about the Russian serialization pilot for beer and beer-based drinks, which it announced last October. Read our blog post about that to get all the details.

Let’s take a look at what we do know about the Russian serialization pilot for biologically active food additives. After that, we’ll give you a sneak peek at what we’re doing to make sure stakeholders in every industry regulated by Russia’s National Track and Trace Digital System, known as Chestny ZNAK, know exactly what to do to comply with the strict requirements.

Russian serialization pilot for biologically active food additives

As we said above, the Russian government hasn’t said much about the new pilot, which was formalized through a draft decree entitled “On Conducting an Experiment on the Labeling of Biologically Active Food Additives by Means of Identification in the Territory of the Russian Federation.”

Chestny ZNAK has shared a list of what products will be labeled and their corresponding Eurasian Economic Union Combined Nomenclature of Foreign Economic Activity (TN VED) codes. It’s also been reported that the Center for Research in Perspective Technologies (CRPT), which operates Chestny ZNAK, will provide equipment to pilot participants.

Here are the products that will be included in the Russian serialization pilot for for biologically active food additives. It’s a long list. Be sure to scroll down to our “Final Thoughts” to read about our plans for Russian supply chain compliance!

BIOLOGICALLY ACTIVE FOOD ADDITIVES

Pilot Dates: April 1, 2021–March 1, 2022

TN VED CodeDescription
1210 20 9000Oil seeds and oleaginous fruits; miscellaneous grains, seeds, and fruit; industrial or medicinal plants; straw and fodder
1212 21 000 0Locust beans, seaweeds, and other algae, sugar beet and sugar cane, fresh, chilled, frozen or dried, whether or not ground; fruit stones and kernels and other vegetable products (including unroasted)
1504 10 1000Fish liver oils and their fractions with Vitamin A content not exceeding 2500 iu/g
1504 20 900 0Other fish fats, oils, and their fractions, other than fish liver oils, other than solid fractions
1516 10 900 0Other animal fats and oils and their fractions
1517 90 990 0Other edible mixtures or preparations of animal or vegetable fats or oils or fractions of different fats or oils of this chapter, other than edible fats or oils
1702 90 950 0Other, including invert sugar and other sugar and sugar syrup blends containing in the dry state 50% by weight of fructose
1704 90 550 0Throat and cough lozenges not containing cocoa
1806 31 0000Other product containing cocoa, in blocks, slabs, or bars, filled
1806 32 100 0Cocoa and cocoa preparations (other preparations containing cocoa, not filled, but with added cereal grains, fruits, or nuts in blocks, slabs, or bars)
1806 32 900 0Other preparations containing cocoa, but not filled, in blocks, slabs, or bars
1806 90 700 0Preparations containing cocoa and intended for manufacture (preparation) of drinks
1806 90 900 0Other preparations containing cocoa
2101 12 920 1Preparations with a basis of extracts, essences, or concentrates of coffee
2106 10 800 0Other protein concentrates and textured protein substances
2106 90 590 0Other sugar syrups with flavoring or coloring additives
2106 90 920 0Other food preparations not containing butter fat, sucrose, isoglucose (i.e., high-fructose corn syrup), glucose, and starch, or containing less than 1. 5% by weight of butter fat, 5% by weight of sucrose or isoglucose, 5% by weight
2106 90 980 3Mixtures of vitamins and minerals for use as a balanced dietary supplement
2106 90 980 9Other food preparations not elsewhere specified or included
2106 90 9801Sugar- (sucrose) free chewing gum and/or with a sugar substitute product
2202 90 100 9“Others” under Code 2202: “Beverages and spirits and vinegar”
2202 99 190 0Other beverages not containing preparations of headings 0401 to 0404 or fat obtained from preparations of headings 0401 to 0404:

  • 0401: Milk and cream, not concentrated nor containing added sugar or other sweetening matter
  • 0402: Milk and cream, concentrated or containing added sugar or other sweetening matter
  • 0403: Buttermilk, curdled milk and cream, yogurt, kephir (a.k.a. kefir), and other fermented or acidified milk and cream, whether or not concentrated or containing added sugar or other sweetening matter or flavored or…
  • 0404: Whey, whether or not concentrated or containing added sugar or other sweetening matter; products consisting of natural milk constituents, whether or not containing added sugar or other sweetening…
2936 21 000 0Vitamins A and their derivatives
3002 90 500 0Cultures of microorganisms
3204 19 000 0Synthetic organic coloring matter and preparations based thereon, including mixtures of coloring matters of the subheadings 320411 to 320419:

  • 320411: Disperse dyes and preparations based thereon
  • 320412: Acid dyes, whether or not premetallized, and preparations based thereon; mordant dyes and preparations based thereon
  • 320413: Basic dyes and preparations based thereon
  • 320414: Direct dyes and preparations based thereon
  • 320415: Vat dyes (including those usable in that state as pigments) and preparations based thereon
  • 320416: Reactive dyes and preparations based thereon
  • 320417: Pigments and preparations based thereon
  • 320419: Tanning or dyeing extracts; tannins and their derivatives; dyes, pigments, and other coloring matter; paints and varnishes; putty and other mastics; inks
3503 00 100 9Other gelatin and its derivatives
3507 90 900 0Other prepared enzymes not elsewhere specified or included

Final thoughts

Our team in Russia fields many, many questions about Chestny ZNAK, and industries that must comply with the supply chain regulations. They love hearing from people and helping them understand the rules for doing business in Russia.

If you follow our blog (and we know you do), you know we’re the leader in Russian compliance. You also know we write a lot about Russian supply chain regulations. Most recently, we covered the pilot for beer, updated labeling requirements for cheese and ice cream products, and “notification mode” in the pharma supply chain. We also did a Chestny ZNAK refresher course.

So, when we heard about the Russian serialization pilot for biologically active food additives, we thought it was time to update our white papers for 2021. There have been a lot of changes over the last year. Deadlines have changed. Other pilots have ended. Requirements and process have evolved. We’re including all the latest information from Chestny ZNAK and providing much greater detail about products and requirements.

The papers — including Russian versions — be ready soon. We’ll let you know when they’re available. In the meantime, our 2020 white papers are still online. You can also visit our website for more information about our solutions for Russian compliance and contact our team in Moscow directly.

Russia Serialization Pilot to Combat Counterfeit Beer Set to Begin This Spring

Last October, Russia’s Ministry of Industry and Trade announced a supply chain pilot project to label beer and beer-based mixed drinks. Set to run from April 1, 2021, to February 28, 2022, its goal is to prevent counterfeit beer from entering the market and to protect consumers.

The pilot is part of Russia’s ongoing effort to serialize its entire supply chain. The country’s National Track and Trace Digital System, known as Chestny ZNAK and operated by the Center for Research in Perspective Technologies (CRPT), monitors the supply chains of more than a dozen industries, from pharmaceuticals and footwear to tires and tobacco.

Let’s take a look at the problem of counterfeit beer in Russia and globally, and what the pilot hopes to achieve.

The struggle with counterfeit beer and other alcohol

Counterfeit beer — and counterfeit wine, spirits, and other alcoholic drinks — is a global problem with a hefty monetary cost. For instance, it’s estimated that fake wine and spirts cost the global industry more than $3 billion a year in the EU alone. The illegal trade also decreases sales of legitimate products and has led to losses of industry jobs. For more insight into the problem, check out our two-part blog series about track and trace in the wine industry.

There’s also a human cost. Counterfeit alcohol can contain toxic “ingredients” such as jet fuel, embalming fluid, and methanol. The danger is great enough that governments and industry associations have issued guidance to help consumers spot fakes and stay safe. Last year, for example, the Wine & Spirts Wholesalers of America advised travelers to remember the “4 Ps” — place, product, price, and packaging — when purchasing any kind of alcohol.

Though the problem is global, it’s particularly acute in Russia. In 2014, Russia’s Federal Service for Alcohol Market Regulation said half of beer and beer-based beverages sold in the country were fake. (Beer wasn’t even classified as an alcoholic drink in Russia until 2011. Before then-President Dmitry Medvedev signed the bill making that distinction, anything containing less than 10 percent alcohol was considered a foodstuff.)

Today, the Ministry of Industry and Trade estimates that counterfeit beer accounts for 5–12 percent of the country’s $8.8 billion market, resulting in approximately $1 billion in lost tax revenue. The ministry also estimates that labeling beer and monitoring it via Chestny ZNAK will increase revenue for legal producers by as much as $4 billion. And, of course, mandatory labeling will help ensure counterfeit beer, including potentially harmful knock-offs, never reaches consumers.

Details of Russia’s beer labeling pilot

The Russian government is aware of its counterfeit beer problem. Talking about the pilot after it was announced last October, Minister of Trade and Industry Denis Manturov said, “We think it is important to start with labeling in the alcohol segment in order to protect consumers. This is important as this sector is particularly vulnerable to illegal goods and counterfeiting.”

The CRPT, industry representatives, regulators, retailers, and other stakeholders have been discussing parameters, technical features, and timing. As we noted above, the pilot will last 11 months (April 2021–February 2022). Progress reports are due to the government on October 29 of this year and February 14 next year, and a final decision about when mandatory labeling will begin will be made after a full review of the pilot.

Any company can volunteer to participate; however, it seems the organizers prefer companies that use several packaging form factors and have more than one product line. If you want to participate, you must send a letter of consent on company letterhead to the Beer and Beer Drinks Commodity Group. Visit the Chestny ZNAK website for details or, better yet, contact us directly. We’re an official partner of the CRPT, and our ever-growing team in Moscow is always ready to help.

What products will be labeled?

The pilot will test labeling for beer, beer drinks, and low-alcohol drinks that are not required to be labeled with federal special and excise stamps.

What do manufacturers have to do?

The CRPT will assign a dedicated project manager, technical manager, and business process specialist to every manufacturer in the pilot. These people will work at the manufacturer’s facilities and oversee pilot operations.

Manufacturers’ representatives are expected to attend working group meetings to discuss progress and make recommendations for the regulatory framework, which will be finalized after the pilot is over. Manufacturers are also expected to:

  • Understand the business processes required for digital labeling
  • Choose a technology partner to supply and install labeling and integration systems
  • Determine how to apply the marking codes
  • Determine what technical solution is most suitable for their production line(s)
  • Arrange delivery and perform commissioning/start-up of labeling equipment
  • Integrate the equipment with the Automated Control Systems of the Enterprise and Technological Process (ACSTP)
  • Adapt their inventory systems to work with labeled goods
  • Adapt their business processes to new requirements for digital marking
  • Train key personnel to work with digital marking
  • Ensure their suppliers are sufficiently prepared to work with digital marking

As with the other product categories regulated in Chestny ZNAK, manufacturers must follow a few core steps for labeling and track and trace processes. First, they must register an account with Chestny ZNAK. Next, they must describe their products in Russia’s catalog of marked goods, which is managed by the Government Information System for Marking (GIS MT). Last, they have to order unique codes for each item (or, in some cases, for a group of goods), and put a Data Matrix code on each package, after which the goods may be to put into circulation and transferred for sale to wholesale or retail networks.

What do retailers have to do?

Retailers must scan the Data Matrix codes when they accept goods. This sends the product information to Chestny ZNAK and notifies the system that the products have arrived at the retail location.

When a consumer purchases a product, the cashier scans the code on the packaging using a scanner connected to a point-of-sale cash register. The data is synchronized with the information in the catalog of marked goods and the item is officially removed from circulation. If the data doesn’t match, the product is counterfeit or otherwise illegitimate and cannot be sold.

Final thoughts

Russia wants to complete the transformation of its supply chain by 2024, a scant three years from now. What we’ve talked about today — fighting counterfeit beer and protecting consumers — follows the ultimate goal of Chestny ZNAK, which the government says is “to guarantee the authenticity and declared quality of goods being purchased by customers.”

rfxcel has been prepared for the Russian regulations since 2018, and we’ve established ourselves as the leader in Russian supply chain compliance. Chestny ZNAK compliance is embedded in our Compliance Management and Serialization Processing solutions, which are part of our award-winning rfxcel Traceability System.

We’re also an official software and integration partner of the CRPT, and one of only a few providers with in-country implementations. Our systems use Russian language, currency, and processes, and our customers include major global consumer goods and pharmaceutical companies.

And our qualifications go on and on. Connect with one of our supply chain experts today. If you’re looking to do business in Russia — or even if you’re already working with another provider — you should talk to us.

Russia Dairy Serialization Update: Mandatory Labeling for Cheese and Ice Cream

Some important updates to Russia dairy serialization were made public on January 13, 2021. The regulations pertain to cheese and ice cream products, as well as products with certain shelf lives.

Supply chain laws governing the country’s National Track and Trace Digital System, which is known as Chestny ZNAK and covers a dozen industries, have been continually tweaked and refined since it was created a little more than three years ago. Let’s take a look at what’s new for the dairy industry.

New rules for Russia dairy serialization

The Russia dairy serialization regulations were put forth in Decree No. 2099 of December 15, 2020; they will go into effect for different products at different times.

The first products to fall under mandatory labeling are cheeses, ice cream, and other edible ice. Companies can begin labeling these goods and transferring data to the Government Information System for Marking (GIS MT), which catalogs all marked goods, as early as January 20, 2021, but they must be registered with Chestny ZNAK to do so.

Mandatory labeling begins for these cheese and ice cream products on June1, 2021. Only serialized products are allowed to be sold after this date. However, products produced or imported into Russia before June 1 may be sold until the product’s expiration date.

Deadlines for cheese and ice cream stakeholders

The Russia dairy serialization regulations for cheese and ice cream products apply to manufacturers, importers, wholesalers, and retailers. Here are the key dates:

  • June 1, 2021: Manufacturers and importers must begin labeling and transferring product data to GIS MIT.
  • December 1, 2021: All stakeholders must transmit information about the retail sale of goods to Chestny ZNAK. (This occurs via point-of-sale cash registers connected to the internet.)
  • September 1, 2022: Using Universal Transfer Documents (UTDs), stakeholders must transmit information on the turnover of goods (including wholesale sales) and the withdrawal of goods.
  • December 1, 2023: Unit-level serialization of products with a shelf life of more than 40 days begins. Each product’s unique identification code must be indicated in the UTD.

Labeling of other dairy products with a shelf life of more than/less than 40 days

Manufacturers, importers, wholesalers, and retailers must comply with the Russia dairy serialization regulations for these products, which include the following:

  1. Milk and cream
  2. Buttermilk, fermented milk products (e.g., curdled milk and cream, yogurt, kefir (a fermented milk drink)
  3. Butter and other fats and oils made from milk, milk pastes
  4. Milk whey and other dairy products not included in other groups
  5. Dairy products for baby food
  6. Drinks containing milk fats

Mandatory labeling of products with a shelf life of more than 40 days begins on September 1, 2021. Products with a shelf life of less than 40 days must be labeled beginning December 1, 2021. Only serialized products may be sold after these dates. However, products produced or imported into Russia before these dates may be sold until the product’s expiration date.

Furthermore, for both categories:

  • December 1, 2021: All stakeholders must transmit information about the retail sale of goods to Chestny ZNAK. (This occurs via point-of-sale cash registers connected to the internet.)
  • September 1, 2022: Using Universal Transfer Documents (UTDs), stakeholders must transmit information on the sale and withdrawal of goods.

And for products with a shelf life of more than 40 days:

  • December 1, 2023: Unit-level serialization Each product’s unique identification code must be indicated in the UTD.

Mandatory labeling will not apply to the following products:

  1. Baby food for children under 3 and specialized dietary therapeutic and preventive food
  2. Products packed in a non-industrial manner/method in retail organizations
  3. Products with a net weight of 30 grams or less
  4. Products produced or imported into Russia as advertising/marketing samples not intended for sale
  5. Products to be exported outside the EAEU
  6. Products for sale in duty-free shops
  7. Products being stored by manufacturers (i.e., not intended for distribution)
  8. Products acquired under a transaction, information about which constitutes a state secret

Final thoughts

As the leader in Russia dairy serialization solutions, rfxcel knows the regulations can be a challenge to decipher. To help, we offer useful resources online, like this refresher course and white papers and webinars that explain the requirements.

These are great places to start, but the best way to ensure you’re prepared to comply with Russia dairy serialization is to talk with us directly. Consider our credentials:

  • We’re an official integration, software, and tested solution partner with the CRPT.
  • We’ve demonstrated that our solutions, including our signature rfxcel Traceability System (rTS) and Compliance Management (rCM), can meet the stringent Russia dairy serialization requirements and ensure you stay compliant.
  • rTS works seamlessly with Chestny ZNAK, including a Russian-language user interface that makes integration and startup much quicker.
  • We’ve prepared for Russia dairy serialization and Chestny ZNAK since 2018.
  • We’re one of the few providers with active implementations in Russia.
  • We’ve tripled our workforce in Russia over the last year. Our team in Moscow provides our clients, which include major global consumer goods and pharmaceutical companies, the quickest time to market while fully automating their compliance reporting.

Contact us today learn more about how we can help you with Russia dairy serialization and Chestny ZNAK compliance. No matter how far along you are in your preparations to comply, you should talk to us — even if you’re already working with another provider. Our powerful software ensures companies in any industry remain compliant with the complex regulations.