Traceability in food supply chains Exploring governmental authority and industrial effects

University dissertation from Department of Design Sciences, Faculty of Engineering, Lund University

Abstract: Traceability in food supply chains has received increased attention in the last decade. The efforts of governmental authorities have also increased to regulate and control food supply chains and product characteristics related to information to ensure safety, quality, and preservation of living resources. Previous studies in the area take an industrial focus and exclude the governmental authority focus. This thesis thus focuses on exploring governmental authority and industrial effects on traceability in food supply chains. The purpose is to extend the traceability capabilities in food supply chains that are influenced by governmental authorities. The thesis reports findings from literature reviews and case studies that investigated three research questions. The first question embraces different perspectives of food supply chain traceability in supply chain management (SCM) literature, as well as the science theoretical perspective of food supply chain traceability. The second question explores modelling techniques for mapping food supply chains based on two dimensional flows of information between a governmental authority and actors, and of the flows of physical goods in three fresh food supply chains. The third question concerns the effects on operational activities and traceability information in fresh food supply chains by implementing the RFID based smart goods concept. The results show that food supply chain traceability is a multidisciplinary concept which is important for governmental authorities. Supply chain management techniques for mapping descriptive information flows and for capturing information in supply chains are applicable to improve traceability in fresh food supply chains. The thesis further examines the influence of traceability on operational activities in food supply chains. The results presented contribute to the understanding of traceability in food supply chains affected by governmental regulations from a managerial point of view. This is useful for authorities and industrial firms in the food industry as well as for academia, since it shows that food supply chain traceability should be prioritised to influence future supply chain traceability setups and theoretical development of the research area.