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IFDA Says DoD 'Tag' Deadline Unrealistic

FALLS CHURCH, VA. - While supporting the Defense Department's passive RFID initiative, the International Foodservice Distributors Association here told the Pentagon that its implementation date of Jan. 1, 2005, is unrealistic.

"We strongly agree with your goal of achieving significant supply-chain efficiency and asset visibility through the use of RFID technology, but we have serious concerns about the anticipated implementation date," stated David French, senior vice president, government relations, in his letter to DoD.

The Pentagon has ruled that distributors and other suppliers who provide food to the military must put passive radio frequency identification (RFID) tags on the lowest possible place on the case, pallet or packaging by January 2005. "In the foodservice industry, many of the leading manufacturers and distributors are working hard to make RFID a reality, but there is consensus that the planned implementation date is too aggressive," French wrote.

RFID implementation will require significant investment in chips, writers, readers and software upgrades and modifications, he continued. Inasmuch as the final Pentagon policy will not be issued until July 2004, French said six months is not enough time to complete the appropriate upgrade in software and hardware and deal with "huge technical hurdles."

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