This case study presents an in-depth review of network structures and costs associated with the implementation of traceability systems in California leafy green production, distribution, and retailing. The 2006 spinach outbreak is used to assess the economic impact of trace back/forward response time of the LGMA system, an example of a tightly coupled, linear supply network. Results suggest that the benefits of traceability systems may far outweigh the costs and that costs vary significantly by technology used and by grower size. Implications are derived for cost-effectiveness of rapid response, targeted trace back/forward systems in other types of supply networks.


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