Workshop on risk and cost benefit analysis of traceability in the agri-food chain (13-14 December 2007): Presentations now are available online

The aim of this workshop was the open and constructive discussion of risk and cost benefit analysis as applied to analytical and documentary traceability in the food and feed chain. Associated issues include internal traceability at the farm level.

In EU legislation on food and feed, traceability is one of the main tools identified for use in risk management and quality assurance. Moreover, in addition to facilitating targeted, rapid and accurate recalls, traceability possibly provides even greater benefits: if investment is made in an appropriate system, the resulting advantages may include decreased implementation costs to industry and the consumer alike.

To date, major research projects have focused mainly on the establishment of systems of traceability, on methods of analysis and on technology. Less attention has been paid to qualitative or quantitative economic analysis. Quantitative cost benefit analyses urgently are needed to provide the food and feed industry with independent information on the relative merits of investing in “state of the art” tracing systems. Such information is of particular interest to small and mid-sized enterprises.

Considered against the background of added costs and constraints, the workshop represented a ‘brainstorming session’ on approaches to the assessment of costs and benefits for food and feed traceability in supply chains.
The workshop was hosted by the JRC in Ispra (Italy), in association with projects Co-Extra (coexistence of GM and non-GM supply chains ) and TRACE (food traceability) of the EU 6th Framework Program.