GS1 Canada

GS1 Canada

October 05, 2009 09:01 ET

OnTrace Encourages Small and Large Food Producers to Adopt GS1 Standards to Bolster Innovation and Competitiveness

GUELPH, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 5, 2009) - OnTrace Agri-food Traceability (OnTrace), the leader in agriculture and agri-food traceability programs and initiatives in the province of Ontario, is encouraging food producers, small and large, to become "GTIN-equipped" (Global Trade Item Number - a GS1 Global Standard) in order to become more competitive and responsive to changes in demands for food traceability.

Recent requirements announced by some of Canada's major food retailers have prompted a growing need for a low cost, simple way for growers and producers to obtain GS1 numbers. Fortunately, OnTrace has been able to offer Global Location Numbers to any Ontario producer who registers with their Ontario Agri-food Premise Registry (OAPR) since May 2008. A GLN makes it possible to uniquely and unambiguously identify a grower or producer's physical location. The value of GS1 standardized identification has become more evident given recent government and industry focus on food traceability.

Loblaw has announced to industry that it requires all produce to be marked with a GS1 DataBar. This DataBar is essentially a smaller version of the bar code, which enables GTIN identification, suitable for use on produce. Traditionally, retailers have been content to accept the identification of the packer on goods they receive but now this is no longer the case. Other retailers are expected to follow Loblaw's lead. Adoption will enable traceability back to the producer/grower.

Today, many growers have begun to use GTINs to identify their products when they sell to packers, because the packers require it. Though some packers use their own (proprietary) identification systems, many are already opting to use global trade item numbers for bar coding cases and pallets. Consequently there will be further motivation for the individual grower to use GTINs on their shipments so that grower and packer are "speaking" the same standard identification format.

OnTrace helps primary producers increase market access and differentiate their products from those of their competitors by working with businesses to improve their capacity to manage food traceability. Furthermore, as Brian Sterling, OnTrace's CEO points out, "OnTrace from the start has been building Ontario's traceability system to work with international standards of identification. GTIN is a global standard and trade today is international. Any producer, regardless of size, can compete anywhere in the world when armed with the proper tools, such as a Global Trade Item Number (GTIN)."

"The GS1 System of unique global identification and related standards supports OnTrace's vision of whole chain traceability, " said Curtiss Littlejohn, Chair of the Board of Directors, OnTrace. "We value our partnership with GS1 Canada because it offers support to agriculture producers to access broader markets and to meet trade requirements. From our perspective the more GTIN equipped producers we have in Ontario, the stronger and more viable our agriculture and food sector will become."

"As traceability across the supply chain increases as a business requirement, GS1 Canada wants to ensure that Ontario producers have access to the tools being used across Canada and around the world," said N. Arthur Smith, President and CEO, GS1 Canada." OnTrace has worked with GS1 to clarify the needs of its stakeholders to us. As a result of this collaboration, as well as other discussions with industry, we have introduced new membership levels to support smaller operations that include many of Canada's agriculture producers. We want to ensure that all businesses, regardless of their size or how many products they produce, can capitalize and effectively compete by taking advantage of the benefits of this global supply chain system."

More information is available here.


GS1 Canada is a member of GS1, the world's leading supply chain standards organization. As a neutral, not-for-profit organization, GS1 Canada enables its more than 10,000 members - organizations of all sizes from 23 sectors across Canada - to enhance their efficiency and cost effectiveness by adopting electronic supply chain best practices. Learn more at www.gs1ca.org.

The GS1 System is the world's most widely used supply chain standards system, providing a unique and standardized global identification of products, physical locations, assets, shipping containers, and related electronic communications. More than one million companies in over twenty major industries, from raw materials to retailers, use these standards to conduct business efficiently in over 140 countries around the world.


OnTrace is the industry-led, not-for-profit corporation created to lead food traceability programs and initiatives in the province of Ontario. The OnTrace Board of Directors is made of senior industry leaders from a cross-section of agriculture and other industry sectors. OnTrace's goals are: to deliver traceability solutions that will enable the agriculture and agri-food industry in Ontario to become more innovative and competitive and; to strengthen the capacity of industry and government to respond to agriculture and food emergencies.

OnTrace is located at: 1030 Gordon Street, Suite 202, Guelph, ON N1G 4X5. Contact coordinates are: Toll Free 1-888-38-TRACE (8-7223) Phone 519.766.9292, Fax 519.766.1313. For media kit and further information, visit: www.ontraceagrifood.com.

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