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Abstract

A robust whole chain traceability system can limit consumers’ exposure to potentially hazardous foods, improve supply chain management, and add value to consumer products. However, fragmented supply chains present special challenges. In the beef industry, for example, producers have resisted participation in whole chain traceability because of high cost relative to value and concerns about disclosing proprietary information, among others. A multi-disciplinary team from universities, private firms, and a foundation has developed and tested a pilot proprietary centralized data whole chain traceability system that addresses many of these obstacles. This system would facilitate a precision agriculture approach to beef production and marketing. While the remaining challenges are serious, the benefits to society, consumers, and businesses from widespread adoption of whole-chain traceability systems are potentially large.

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