Wednesday, August 29, 2007

QR Codes On Rice

Ever wondered if your food is safe to eat? I haven't, but I'm just trying to avoid the dreadful truth. Japan has implemented its food tracking system (with QR Codes) for some time now (supposedly due to the news of the Mad Cow disease and counterfeit products back in 2001) and Taiwan's Council of Agriculture has decided to follow suit.

QR Codes are placed on certified products so that the complete manufacturing process of agricultural products can be easily looked up by consumers. Of course, too much data can sometimes be a bad thing for mobile devices, so one gets only the most important information, such as date produced. And since mobile barcode readers and mobile internet access still aren't popular enough with the general public, kiosks are placed at selected locations (supermarkets) for 2D barcode scanning purposes. This is the second year of action for these QR Code stickers (it has been redesigned), for more information, visit the Taiwan Agriculture and Food Traceability System website.

I wonder how this is going to work if these products get distributed to the traditional markets though, where the shoppers tend to be of the mom/grandmom demographics and usually do not have or know how to use mobile barcode readers?

I also have doubts as to whether they encoded their QR Codes correctly, since both the barcodes displayed on their website and an actual sticker revealed a curious looking URL when scanned (something like HTTP>&&QRC.TW&_Q)1000mTAHB0pnRQ).

References: QuickMark, InfoTimes, EpochTimes, COA, TAFT

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