Brief: e-fruitrace project
The European Commission decided in 2001 to fund the e-fruitrace project, aimed at achieving food security in the EU through an integrated traceability system based on Internet technologies. The 200 000 € project has successfully tested a Europe-wide Internet-based, customized and integrated traceability system for the fruit sector, an economically important sector in the EU (in 1999, fresh fruit production was worth 19 634 million €, representing 7.3% of agricultural production). E-fruitrace softwareensures traceability throughout production, transformation and distribution. Each player in the chain identifies his purchase of fruit and vegetables and registers that information in the system. Complete knowledge of the food eaten by consumers, including health, analysis, inspection of quality registers, origins, species, manipulation, chains, transport, logistics and marketing, is obtained. E-fruitrace has also overcome the incompatibility of different platforms used by different actors in different countries, thus overcoming a basic requirement in terms of traceability at EU legislative level. The result is a standard for fruit traceability. E-fruitrace can be used with existing traceability solutions — investments required from agricultural cooperatives, processors and distributors are thus small compared with the cost of implementing new tracking systems. Information can be exchanged quickly and easily up and down the food chain and can be used anywhere in the world.