The United States received an overall world ranking score of Average.
The food traceability regulations of 21 OECD countries were examined with attention to whether these regulations are comprehensive for all food commodities and processed foods. The countries were evaluated based on responses to a series of questions that were developed to allow assessment of their traceability programs. The questions sought background information on whether: mandatory traceability regulation(s) exists at the national level within a given country; regulations include imported products, and the nature of required documentation for imports; an electronic database(s) for traceability exists and, if present, its accessibility; and labeling regulations allow consumer access and understanding of traceability. The examination ranked the countries that have specific traceability regulations for all commodities, both domestic and imports, as “Progressive,” while countries with less broad or stringent regulations were ranked as “Moderate,” and countries that were still in the developmental stage of mandatory or industry-led traceability requirements were ranked as “Regressive.” Aggregate scores were developed from all of the rankings, determined on the basis of the questions, for each of the 21 countries, to provide an overall world ranking score. The aggregate scores were “Superior,” “Average,” or “Poor.”
With mandatory regulations for traceability of food and feed being adopted in many European countries, member countries of the European Union (EU) as well as pan-European countries such as Norway and Sweden received an overall world ranking of Superior. Australia, Canada, Japan, Brazil, New Zealand, and the United States received an overall world ranking score of Average. China received an overall world ranking of Poor. Insufficient data were available for ranking the Russian Federation.
This examination led the authors to note the importance of harmonization of traceability requirements and regulations to minimize the potential for misunderstanding and delays due to difficulties in understanding each country’s practices, to strengthen interoperability in order to overcome unintended trade restrictions, and to improve traceability of food products globally.
Countries included in this study were Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Russian Federation, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. These countries are considered top OECD countries in regards to food production and consumption, and they represent major exporting and importing countries of the world.