Centre for Human-Computer Interaction Design
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Human-Computer Interaction Design


"Integrated System for Reliable Traceability of Food Supply Chains"

Staff and funding

Principal investigators: Prof Neil Maiden
Research Staff: Inger Kristine Karlsen Pitts, James Lockerbie
Total funding: € 15,500,000
Funding to the Centre and Department: € 381,000
Funding source: EU Framework VI Integrated Project
Duration: 4 years

Project description

The project objective of the EU-funded TRACEBACK Integrated Project was to develop and implement a new form of traceability system for the entire food chain. It sought to establish an objective connection between product flow and related information flow, increase availability and reliability of traceability information, building on technologies already adopted by food chains. It achieved this by integrating research streams from food science, supply chains, standards and regulations, computing technologies, micro devices and food traceability and produced a general traceability reference model that can be adapted to fit most food chains.

The research was applied and evaluated in two food chains: tomato (from plant nursery to supermarket) and feed/dairy (from feed supplier to retailer). TRACEBACK successfully introduced new technologies to the food players in these chains without changing their existing systems and processes. Technologies included devices to record and connect quality data to the product flow, services to trace and track products, and an alert management application for handling recall and withdrawal procedures through the food chain. Integration was enabled through the RATIS (Reference Architecture for Traceability Information Systems) framework, which provided the software infrastructure and common language for food players to manage and share knowledge along the food chains. The increased quality and availability of information generated was a step towards helping all parties in the food chain ensure that the food complies with EU standards, as well as reassure consumers of the quality of the food they buy.

City's principal role in TRACEBACK was to establish innovative requirements and designs for socio-technical systems in the selected food chains to establish, manage and exploit product and information traceability solutions including the RATIS information system. RATIS was developed using service-oriented techniques. We employed i* modelling to model actors and their dependencies in the food chains, creativity workshops to establish innovations and opportunities for RATIS, and scenario walkthrough techniques to discover more complete RATIS requirements. City also led the on-site evaluations of RATIS solutions in the tomato and dairy feed chains.

For more information, visit the official www.traceback-ip.eu

Project collaborators