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  • 30 Jan 2006

CRYOLOG's TRACEO tracks freshness from factory to fork

CRYOLOG of France, a specialist in traceability technology, has launched TRACEO - a microbiological indicator of cold-chain disruptions for perishable products. TRACEO comes in the form of a transparent film which is directly attached to the bar code of a perishable product, changing color when the product is no longer fit for consumption. CRYOLOG will be present at several trade shows in 2006, including the Total Sandwich & Snack Show in London from 3 to 4 May 2006.

TRACEO is a color-coded, new-generation adhesive label, or time-temperature integrator, which is specially programmed depending on the characteristics of the products to be tracked. It is made up of micro-organisms and a gel, which simulate the actual degradation of the product being tracked. TRACEO then changes color and turns opaque when the product is no longer fit for consumption, either after a critical accumulation of breaks in the cold chain or when the best-before date is passed. TRACEO therefore allows the simple and systematic detection of suspicious products: if the bar code is readable, the product is fresh; if it is not readable, the product is no longer edible.

TRACEO is activated once attached to the product, meaning there is no need for temperature control of the labels before they are affixed. TRACEO thus enables the objective monitoring and tracking of the freshness of products from the moment they come off the factory line until the moment they go into the consumer's refrigerator, as well as all stages in between.

The most concrete applications of TRACEO are in the tracing of fresh foodstuffs in supermarkets, and monitoring meals and sandwiches in the catering sector. TRACEO also has applications in the medical field (monitoring vaccines, blood collection bags, etc.).

The last decade has been marked by significant food scares (bird flu, mad cow disease, listeriosis, dioxin, foot-and-mouth disease, etc.), which have shaken the confidence and trust of consumers in the food that they eat and even in the agri-foodstuffs sector as a whole. Quality seals and indications as to the origin of products are on the increase. Traceability is becoming increasingly important, with the aim of being able to keep track of a food product from the moment it is manufactured to the moment it is consumed.

Today, French company CRYOLOG is able to provide the solution to public-health problems caused by breaks in the cold chain by making it possible to optimize a product's freshness. The innovation and performance of TRACEO have enabled CRYOLOG to pick up more than 15 awards and prizes, including, in 2005, first prize in the Packaging Oscars, and the trophy for innovation awarded by the French Agribusiness Industry Suppliers' Convention.

TRACEO has also attracted support from OSEO ANVAR (France's Agency for Innovation, a public body), and has won the recognition of the scientific and industrial communities. It has been adopted by major out-of-home catering customers such as ELIOR (the second largest European company in this field) and supermarkets such as CORA, a chain of 60 hypermarkets with annual sales of €10 billion.