EU to support extended use of RFID in food and drink sector

Published 21 July 2006

EU supports research into RFID technology to make it more economical to track food and beverage from field to store shelves and tables

The EU is providing €7.5 million toward a three-year project to develop and extend the use of RFID technology in a range of industries, including the food and drink sector. The Building Radio frequency IDentification solutions for the Global Environment (BRIDGE) project will develop research, training, and demonstration models in the effective use of RFID based on EPCglobal standards. RFID has long been touted as the future of logistics for all companies by allowing retailers and suppliers to track goods throughout the supply chain. The adoption of the technology, however, has been hobbled somewhat by high prices for tags and systems and by privacy concerns.

Coordinated by global data standards body, GS1, the BRIDGE project brings together a consortium of 31 international organizations. Participants in the program include universities in Europe and China, including three of the Auto-ID Labs, solutions providers, both large and small, together with large scale retailers and manufacturers.

In food manufacturing processes, the BRIDGE project hopes to demonstrate how to reduce waste and stock holding. The project will improve the visibility and traceability of both products and equipment, thereby improving food safety, the press release stated.

BRIDGE consortium members include five research laboratories, twelve RFID suppliers, and seven businesses. They are Carrefour, Nestl” UK, Benedicta, Kaufhof, Sony, El Corte Ingl”s, and Gardeur.