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Beef security ― by mobile

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Oct 04,2004
Starting next year, imported beef will be tagged with electronic chips that contain data on the meat, including its origin. Mobile service provider KTF announced yesterday that in a pilot project pursued jointly with the National Veterinary Research and Quarantine Service, imported beef will be tagged with a radio frequency identification, or RFID, chip. This chip will hold information about what farm the beef came from and details of its packaging, quarantine, and distribution processes. Unlike bar codes, RFID chips are wireless and do not require direct contact to be read. These chips will enable related government organizations and mobile phone users to keep track of the beef. In the case of mad cow disease alerts, beef imported from the affected region can be located easily. To learn about the beef, consumers can select a function on their mobile that scans the chip; information on the beef will appear on the cell phone display. The phone must have an RFID reader installed. “If this project is successful, we will be able to converge the livestock distribution business with communications services,” said Kang Sang-yong, director of KTF’s next-generation research center. The company, however, admitted that the system is vulnerable to forgery. For instance, there is nothing to prevent distributors from repacking beef. In that process, the chip could be altered or replaced. “This is just the initial stage, announcing our technological achievement,” said a KTF official. “We will go over other administrative or security aspects later.” by Wohn Dong-hee


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