For several years now, Thailand has had a system in place that allows officials to trace back the origin of animal products and agricultural produce, but this facility has only been used to date for goods intended for export. Now the scope of the system has been extended so that local shoppers can use their smartphones or tablets to trace the origin of fresh meat that is being sold in packet containing a QR (Quick Response) code.
The scan will display nutritional information such as the Guideline Daily Amounts, a recommended recipe and the availability of promotions on that particular product.
A QR code-scanning and -reading system for fruit and vegetables was introduced last year by Tesco Lotus and now the British supermarket chain has extended the use of this facility so that customers can trace the origin of fresh pork and chicken on sale at any of its retail outlets a technical first for the Kingdom.
Wimolporn Thitisak, deputy director-general of the Department of Livestock Development, explained that the DLD set up an "e-traceability" system to upgrade safety standards for the handling of fresh meat in preparation for the imminent start of the Asean Economic Community. "We are delighted that a leading retailer like Tesco Lotus is supporting DLD policies with the QR system which gives consumers the ability to trace information. Scanning the QR code on packaging is an innovation that will be highly beneficial to consumers."
According to Pornpen Nartpiriyarat, trading law and technical head at Tesco Lotus, the QR code scanning is the latest innovation implemented at its supermarkets to meet the needs of health-conscious consumers and to reassure them about food safety.
"We have worked in collaboration with our vendors to develop QR code traceability for fresh pork and chicken to show in-depth information on the the product source as well as nutritional information and recommended recipes," she said.
The tracing function is very easy to use. Customers can simply use their smartphones or tablets to scan the QR code displayed on a product package. When you scan the code on a pork chop, for instance, you will find out where that particular piece of pork originated as well as being given the tracking number for that specific batch of meat. Also displayed will be nutritional information, including the Guideline Daily Amounts (GDA), a recommended way of preparing that cut of meat plus whether there are any current promotions or special offers on pork chops.
To provide sourcing information to the DLD in order to create a database for tracing product origins, Tesco Lotus had to enlist the support of suppliers including CPF Trading, Betagro, Kanchana Fresh Pork, QPM and Golden Foods.
As mentioned earlier, the same tracing system is already in place at Tesco Lotus stores for 60 lines of fresh fruit and vegetables and there are plans afoot to continue adding more fresh food products to the list.
The QR code is the latest innovation to meet the needs of health-conscious consumers and to reassure them about food safety.