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Norwegian Food Group Nortura to Track Meat

The company's IT subsidiary, Matiq, is teaming with IBM to deploy a system that uses RFID to track meat from the slaughterhouse to the store.
By Claire Swedberg
As the tote leaves the processing facility for shipment to the distribution center, it will pass an RFID reader, which will record its departure from the plant. Upon its arrival at the distribution center, an interrogator at the door will read the tag as the tote is unloaded. When shipped to the participating store, located in Tonsberg, the tote will again pass a reader deployed at the DC's dock doors, as well as another interrogator located at the back of the supermarket during receiving.

According to Bergquist, no additional RFID readers will be installed within the store. The totes will be taken directly to the sales floor, where the packed meat will be stored in refrigeration units until sold, and the empty totes will be returned to the plant. Information will be stored at Matiq's data center using IBM's WebSphere RFID Information Center software. Anyone utilizing the EPCIS system who is granted access to the system could then view data about a particular shipment, and trace back a specific tote and the items in it through the supply chain.

"The aim of the project is to get full traceability throughout the value chain," says Espen Braathe, an executive with IBM's sensors and actuators division. "To achieve that, we need to track totes all the way [from the plant to the store]." Although no decision has yet been made regarding when the pilot will end, Braathe says it will likely expand as IBM and Matiq continue work involving the use of tagged totes .

Eventually, Bergquist says, Matiq hopes to have animals tagged at birth, though tagging chickens is unlikely to be mandated by the Norwegian government, and thus is less likely to occur among chicken farmers. The government is, however, encouraging the tagging of chickens as well as other animals, emphasizing the efficiency it would provide farmers.

For Nortura, Bergquist notes, the information provided by this solution will make it easier to track stock levels and avoid out-of-stock occurrences, and to facilitate product recalls in the event that a bad batch of meat is discovered. What's more, he says, it will also help manufacturers and supermarkets to track consumer meat-buying patterns.

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