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New Zealand Group Uses EPCglobal Network to Track Livestock, Meat

The participants utilized a variety of EPC RFID hardware and software in a project designed to prove the effectiveness of the EPCglobal Network as a tool for traceability.
By Dave Friedlos
Rezare opted to work in collaboration with GS1 New Zealand and ANZCO Foods to examine the efficacy of the EPCglobal Network in tracking livestock from the farm to the retailer.

RFID tags with unique EPC identifiers were attached to ears of 10 cows sourced from a farm in Ashburton, New Zealand, and the animals were then transferred to CMP Canterbury meat-processing plant, both of which are owned by ANZCO Foods. The ear tags were encoded with a Serialized Global Trade Item Number (SGTIN). After the cows were slaughtered, RFID tags were attached to the carcasses and encoded with a Serialized Shipping Container Code (SSCC). When the meat was processed, carton tags were attached to the finished product and encoded with a SGTIN. Each tag read location was also assigned a Serialized Global Location Number (SGLN).

An RFID reader was set up in the stun box.
The tags were read at total of nine separate stages in the supply chain. To fasten the tags to the animal's ears on the farm, the group used a Tracient Padl UHF handheld reader. To document the animals' departure from the farm on a truck, the group used an Intermec fixed reader. A Motorola XR-450 fixed reader was used to read the ear tags upon the animals' arrival at the processor holding yards, and the ear tags were read for the last time, using a Convergence Systems Ltd. CS203 fixed reader, when the animals were placed in the stun box. From there, the carcass were fitted new RFID tags, which were read when the carcasses were stored in the chiller room and moved to the boning room, both times using a Motorola XR-450 fixed reader. The processed meat was packed into cartons fitted with RFID tags, which were read by the Motorola XR-450. When the cartons were loaded into a shipping container, the carton tags were read again. Finally, the cartons were received at Westmeat wholesalers, owned by ANZCO, and read using Tracient Padl UHF handheld readers.

The trial used Invengo UHF Gen 2 tags to track the cattle and carcasses, and Avery Dennison AD-843 Gen 2 UHF tags to track the cartons.

"We included a number of different tags and readers in the trial because it was important to show that with the standards in place, any off-the-shelf technology can be used," says Hartley. "We are vendor agnostic and wanted to show that different tags and readers were interoperable."

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