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ID NEWS: EFR asks for volunteers to study RFID foodservice applications

Efficient Foodservice Response (EFR), Falls Church, VA, is seeking volunteers in the distributor segment to study RFID (radio-frequency identification tag) applications to foodservice and this technology's implications for the industry and supply chain, says Mark Allen, EFR executive director.

"We looked at RFID 18 months ago, and this committee will reconvene probably within the next two months," he says.

Wal-Mart's announcement this week that it will ask its top 100 suppliers to put Electronic Product Code (EPC) tags on pallets and cases by January 1, 2005, will help boost this initiative, and many of those suppliers have foodservice arms, Allen adds.

Kraft Foods, Northfield, IL, for example, has already announced it plans to adopt RFID technology to tag and track intermediate bulk containers through the supply chain (ID web news 5/28/03). In this instance, the major branded manufacturer has extended a contract with TrenStar, an asset management company, to upgrade from barcode tracking to an automated RFID system. TrenStar will initially attach RFID tags to more than 1,000 800-liter stainless steel containers that carry fruit from suppliers to Kraft's North Lawrence, NY, facility for yogurt production.

RFID technology has been under development at the Auto-ID Center headquartered at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). It is sponsored by a number of manufacturers and the Uniform Code Council (UCC). The new technology automates data capture in an aggregated load environment, making for greater visibility throughout the supply chain. (ID Management Report, 11/21/02)

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