ISU Professor Serves on European Union Food Traceability Committees

August 22nd, 2005

Charles Hurburgh, professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering at Iowa State University, is the only American citizen invited to serve on TRACE, the European Commission's food traceability project, and Co-EXtra (Co-EXistence and TRAceability) committees.

Both committees address issues related to food products moving through the supply chain. TRACE is a five-year project created to develop traceability systems for the European food supply. Co-EXtra is a consortium of 52 partners, including European governments and companies, set up to develop tools and methods to help stakeholders meet European Commission regulations.

Hurburgh said the current system used in the United States isn't competitive. He said a differentiated marketing system would appeal to European and the Pacific Rim buyers importing either genetically modified specialty grains or non-genetically modified products.

"In order to set up these markets we must help Europeans establish trust in our marketing claims. The U.S. must make a business decision to target the more affluent European and Asian markets," Hurburgh said.

Hurburgh hopes his involvement will help European Union members open up to American products, establish direct buying chains and benefit Midwest farmers.

Hurburgh and John Lawrence, director of the Iowa Beef Center and professor of agricultural economics, are working on a project to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of adopting isolation and traceability programs in the United States.

Contacts: 

Charles Hurburgh, Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, (515) 294-8629, tatry@iastate.edu
Barbara McBreen, Communications Service, (515) 294-0707, barbmc@iastate.edu