GS1 joins FIA – Working to Address Food Safety by Enhancing Traceability with Global Standards

In June 1974, a packet of chewing gum was the first product to be barcoded and scanned in a store. Over 40 years since this date, barcodes play a crucial role in global supply chains, ensuring that products are made available in stores at the right time. Today, the organisation that developed the bar code, GS1, is the newest company to join Food Industry Asia’s growing network of responsible businesses operating in the region.

GS1 is a neutral, non-profit, global organisation that develops and maintains the most widely used supply chain standards system in the world. GS1 standards help to improve the efficiency, safety and visibility of supply chains across multiple sectors. With local Member Organisations in over 110 countries, GS1 engages communities of trading partners, industry organisations, governments and technology providers to understand and respond to their business needs through the adoption and implementation of global standards.

GS1 is driven by over a million user companies, which execute more than five billion transactions daily in 150 countries. It manages the barcode standards used by retailers, manufacturers and suppliers; since 1974, GS1 has been at the service of the consumer packaged goods and fresh food industries, by enabling retailers to serve consumers more efficiently.

Mr Liew Wai Leong, Chief Executive Officer of GS1 Singapore, says GS1 is pleased to partner with Food Industry Asia (FIA), and to help FIA members manage issues related to food safety and food traceability in their supply chains in Asia and across the globe. Touching on the role of an effective food traceability system in preventing food fraud, Mr Liew said that traceability needs to be based on common global standards such as GS1, and that it is a key foundation for food safety solutions to be built upon.

“The basis of a good traceability system starts off with being able to identify the items that you want to trace. So if you’re into selling meat, then to be able to uniquely identify the product is important,” he said.

“At GS1, we provide companies with that unique identification number that they can use either with a barcode or Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) to tag their products. If the company wants to track, in terms of granularity, all the way from farm to plate: They can identify which farm the product comes from, all the way to the manufacturing processing centre, then to the distribution centre, and finally, to the retailer before it ends up on the consumer plate,” Mr Liew added.

Mr Matt Kovac, Executive Director at FIA, said, “We are delighted to welcome GS1 to our growing network of members. I am confident that the team at GS1 will bring valuable expertise and knowledge to our Committees and Working Groups, to support the industry’s collective efforts in improving nutrition, food safety and harmonised food standards for the benefit of all businesses and consumers in Asia.”


Media contact:

Steven Bartholomeusz / Amelia Chong
Food Industry Asia
T: +65 6235 3854 /

Food Industry Asia (FIA) is a non-profit organisation that was formed in 2010 to enable major food manufacturers to speak with one voice on complex issues such as health & nutrition, food safety and the harmonisation of standards. From its base in Singapore, FIA seeks to enhance the industry's role as a trusted partner and collaborator in the development of science-based policy throughout Asia. To do so means acting as a knowledge hub for Asia’s national industry associations and affiliated groups to support with their engagement of public bodies and other stakeholders across the region.