Other common definitions include the capability (and implementation) of keeping track of a given set or type of information to a given degree, or the ability to chronologically interrelate uniquely identifiable entities in a way that is verifiable.
Traceability is applicable to measurement, supply chain, software development, healthcare and security.
In many countries, national standards for weights and measures are maintained by a National Measurement Institute (NMI) which provides the highest level of standards for the calibration / measurement traceability infrastructure in that country. Examples of government agencies include the National Physical Laboratory, UK (NPL) the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the USA, the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) in Germany, and the Istituto Nazionale di Ricerca Metrologica (INRiM) in Italy. As defined by NIST, "Traceability of measurement requires the establishment of an unbroken chain of comparisons to stated references each with a stated uncertainty."
A clock providing is traceable to a time standard such as Coordinated Universal Time or International Atomic Time. The Global Positioning System is a source a traceable time.
This same practice extends throughout industries using military hardware, including the fastener industry.
The international standards organization EPCglobal under GS1 has ratified the EPCglobal Network standards (especially the EPC Information Services EPCIS standard) which codify the syntax and semantics for supply chain events and the secure method for selectively sharing supply chain events with trading partners. These standards for traceability have been used in successful deployments in many industries and there are now a wide range of products that are certified as being compatible with these standards.
In food processing software, traceability systems imply the use of a unique piece of data (e.g., order date/time or a serialized sequence number, generally through the use of a barcode / RFID) which can be traced through the entire production flow, linking all sections of the business, including suppliers & future sales through the supply chain. Messages and files at any point in the system can then be audited for correctness and completeness, using the traceability software to find the particular transaction and/or product within the supply chain.
The European Union's General Food Law came into force in 2002, making traceability compulsory for food and feed operators and requiring those businesses to implement traceability systems. The EU introduced its Trade Control and Expert System, or TRACES, in April 2004. The system provides a central database to track movement of animals within the EU and from third countries.http://ec.europa.eu/food/food/foodlaw/traceability/factsheet_trace_2007_en.pdf Australia has its National Livestock Identification System to keep track of livestock from birth to slaughterhouse.
India has started taking initiatives for setting up traceability systems at Government and Corporate levels. Grapenet,http://www.apeda.gov.in/apedawebsite/Grapenet/GrapeNet_new.htm an initiative by Agriculture and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), Ministry of Commerce, Government of India is an example in this direction. GrapeNet is an internet based traceability software system for monitoring fresh grapes exported from India to the European Union. GrapeNet is a first of its kind initiative in India that has put in place an end-to-end system for monitoring pesticide residue, achieve product standardization and facilitate tracing back from pallets to the farm of the Indian grower, through the various stages of sampling, testing, certification and packing. Grapenet won the National Award (Gold), in the winners announced for the best e-Governance initiatives undertaken in India in 2007. Grapenet was designed and developed by Logicsoft,http://www.lsipl.com/Downloads_page/Grapenet.html award-winning traceability solutions company, based in New Delhi, India.
The Directorate Generate Foreign Trade (DGFT), Government of India, through its notification No.84(RE-2008)/2004-2009 dated 04.02.2009 relating to Amendment in Foreign Trade Policy (RE2008)has mandated that Export to the European Union is permitted subject to registration with APEDA, thereby making Grapenet mandatory for all exports of fresh grapes from India to Europe.
Uruguay has also designed a system called Traceability & Electronic Information System of the Beef Industry.http://www.inac.gub.uy/innovanet/macros/TextContentWithMenu.jsp?contentid=4057&version=1&site=1&channel=innova.net It is expected to be fully developed by 2010
A number of timber tracking companies are in operation to service global demand.
Enhanced traceability ensures that the supply chain data is 100% accurate from the forest to the point of export. Nowadays, there are techniques to predict geographical provenance of wood and contribute to the fight against illegal logging .
In transaction processing software, traceability implies use of a unique piece of data (e.g., order date/time or a serialized sequence number) which can be traced through the entire software flow of all relevant application programs. Messages and files at any point in the system can then be audited for correctness and completeness, using the traceability key to find the particular transaction. This is also sometimes referred to as the transaction footprint.
Medical Products of Human Origin (MPHO), including blood, organs, bone marrow, cord blood, corneas, tissues, reproductive cells, and milk derived from humans for therapeutic use, require unique traceability requirements due to risks associated with disease transmission and incompatibility during transfusion or transplantation. To be used safely, MPHO must have complete tracking paths from donor to recipient, and from recipient back to donor. This forward and backward traceability is essential in reducing the risk of harm to patients in the event of a recall, particularly as the number of MPHO crossing international boundaries increases.
The World Health Organization has recognized the importance of traceability for MPHO and urges Member States "to encourage the implementation of globally consistent coding systems to facilitate national and international traceability".null
To prevent theft, and assist in locating stolen objects, goods may be marked indelibly or undetectably so that they may be determined to be stolen, and in some cases identified. For example, it is sometimes arranged that stolen banknotes are marked with indelible dye to show that they are stolen; they can be identified by their unique serial numbers. Announcing that were fitted with sprayers of SmartWater, an invisible gel detectable for years, to mark thieves and their clothing when breaking into or tampering with the machine was found in a 2016 pilot scheme to reduce theft by 90%.