# Food traceability technologies and foodborne outbreak occurrences

Ana Elisa Vianna Magalhães (Department of Production Engineering, Universidade Federal do Parana – UFPR, Curitiba, Brazil)
Arthur Henrique Gomes Rossi (Department of Production Engineering, Universidade Federal do Parana – UFPR, Curitiba, Brazil)
Izabel Cristina Zattar (Department of Production Engineering, Universidade Federal do Parana – UFPR, Curitiba, Brazil)
Marcos Augusto Mendes Marques (Department of Production Engineering, Universidade Federal do Parana – UFPR, Curitiba, Brazil)
Robson Seleme (Department of Production Engineering, Universidade Federal do Parana – UFPR, Curitiba, Brazil)

ISSN: 0007-070X

Publication date: 21 November 2019

## Abstract

### Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify the relationship between the frequency of publication on food supply chain (FSC) traceability and the occurrence of foodborne diseases outbreaks.

### Design/methodology/approach

A systematic review of the literature was carried out to locate the main articles published in the literature, followed by a content analysis in order to list the main food traceability technologies and their evolutions. Finally, a Spearman’s ρ correlation analysis between the frequency of publications on FSC traceability and the annual occurrence of foodborne outbreaks in the five largest food exporting countries in the world was performed.

### Findings

In these analyses, the tools of radiofrequency, deoxyribonucleic acid, wireless sensor network, hazard analysis and critical control points and Internet of Things are the most researched technologies, and they are relevant in the evolution of traceability in the FSC. With correlation coefficients above 0.700 at 0.01 significance levels, this evolution of food traceability technologies has been one of the factors reducing the number of food outbreaks in the USA and Germany, countries with greater development of the health system and food control.

### Originality/value

This paper provides an evaluation of the food traceability technologies and the effects of their evolutions in the occurrence of food outbreaks. This may help in the proposal of public policies related to food and outbreak control.

## Keywords

#### Citation

Magalhães, A., Rossi, A., Zattar, I., Marques, M. and Seleme, R. (2019), "Food traceability technologies and foodborne outbreak occurrences", British Food Journal, Vol. 121 No. 12, pp. 3362-3379. https://doi.org/10.1108/BFJ-02-2019-0143

### Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

## 1. Introduction

Foodborne diseases affect 1 in 10 people and kill around 420,000 people every year worldwide, with one-third of deaths occurring in children aged up to five years. These cases are consequences of the contamination of food by bacteria, viruses, parasites, chemicals and/or toxins (World Health Organization, 2015a). According to World Health Organization (2015b), when “two or more people develop a similar illness after ingesting the same contaminated food or drink,” the case is considered to be a foodborne outbreak (FBO). Hussain and Dawson (2013) stated that the United States Department of Agriculture reported losses of almost $7bn in FBO-related issues only in the early 2000s. Therefore, FBOs does not only affect public heath, but it can also have economic impacts. According to Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 2018a, b), this can be controlled and avoided through regular occurrence reports of FBOs, which help identify emerging threats from foodborne illnesses. In addition, for Fung et al. (2018), safety and control of food distribution is important for preventing occurrences of foodborne diseases. Throughout the food supply chain (FSC), there are several contamination hazards and critical control points, such as transportation and storage. If the contaminated food reaches distribution or export, outbreaks can easily spread and reach large numbers of people in various locations. One of the ways to control these cases is through the traceability of the food supply chain (FSCT), which aims to document product history at all stages ‒ production, processing, distribution and marketing (FAO/WHO, 2003; ISO, 2007). In European Union (2002), all companies producing food or any other substance that is intended to be incorporated into a food must have an FSCT system that allows the information to be accessed by authorities, suppliers and customers. For García et al. (2008), the traceability systems must support a set of operations based on four main components: documentation and traceability data model support, traceability management, information retrieval and interfaces to external tools. These systems may help locating products in the supply chain, as well as help finding non-conformity and removing products from the market, if necessary (ISO, 2007). In the twenty-first century, the range and speed of food distribution can easily transform a local outbreak into one of international proportions (Fung et al., 2018). Hence, it is essential to control countries exporting food. As reported by FAOSTAT (2013), the USA is the largest exporter of food in the world, followed by the Netherlands, France, Germany and Brazil. The five countries account for 40 percent of the world’s exports of agricultural products and other edible products (products with nutritional value, except those intended for animal feed and alcoholic beverages). Therefore, this paper aims to identify the main FSCT technologies present in the current literature and their evolution, and analyze the relationships between the diffusion of FSCT publication and the occurrence of FBOs in these five countries. ## 2. Approach To reach the proposed objective, a systematic literature review was used to select the FSCT material published in the literature. In the analytical phase of the material, the content analysis is used to classify the FSCT technologies and list the most cited one. Finally, the relationship between the frequency of publication and the occurrence of food outbreaks in the five countries studied is determined through a correlation analysis. The systematic literature review followed the methodological steps proposed by Denyer and Tranfield (2009) (Figure 1). The questions to be answered by the review are as follows: • “What are the main FSCT technologies in current literature?” • “How do the main FSCT technologies relate to the diffusion of the general publications in the topic?” • “How are the occurrence of FBOs in the five countries that export the highest food value and the frequency of FSCT publications related?” For this, a search for initial studies was performed, following the protocol presented in Table I. As a result of this initial search, 2,066 articles were obtained, which were handled through Mendeley® and Excel® software. In the sequence, filters were applied to select only the material relevant to the search. First, papers that had the term “Food Supply Chain Traceability” in the title, abstract or keywords were selected. Of the remaining papers, a selection of the ones that were part of the scope of the research was performed, upon the reading of titles and abstracts. During the selection process, articles about “Food Chain” that focused on ecology, rather than the food supply, were eliminated. The result was a final number of 1,029 FSCT studies. With the corpus defined, FSCT technologies were extracted from the papers. For the most cited, chronological analysis of publications and Pearson’s correlation analysis (Myers and Sirois, 2014) between the general frequency of publications and the frequency of publications of each FSCT tool were performed. Later, to identify the relationship between the occurrence of FBOs and the frequency of publications, a correlation analysis of Spearman’s ρ (Myers and Sirois, 2014) at 0.01 significance levels was executed for the five countries that dominate food exports in the world. ## 3. FSCT technologies and tools In the group of papers, 69 technologies and tools used in FSCT were found. Figure 2 shows the number of articles that cite each of them. To simplify, only those with ten or more citations were considered. It is observed that radiofrequency identification (RFID) technology is the most searched, followed by deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) technology, wireless sensor network (WSN), hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) and Internet of Things (IoT). Therefore, the first five tools were considered the most relevant for FSCT and were the subject of an in-depth analysis in the research studies that followed. ### 3.1 RFID, WSN and IoT #### 3.1.1 RFID RFID technology consists of identification tags that store information recorded by remote readers through radio waves. These tags can be passive, only working in the reader’s action area, or active ones, which have an integrated battery, thus keeping communication fulltime regardless of location (Kumari et al., 2015). It is possible to find this tool in research studies related to various food categories and FSC steps, demonstrating its versatility. Animals can be tracked individually from birth to distribution (De-an et al., 2009) or fresh fish can be tracked by batches from the fishing vessel to processing Abad et al. (2009). Also, Mainetti et al. (2013) proposed a system of traceability of plants based on radiofrequency technologies. RFID was not often cited in the individual identification of the final product. In these, labels are replaced by barcodes, for the ease of reading by the retailer and final consumer (Feng et al., 2013). #### 3.1.2 WSN The WSN are a group of connected sensor nodes that detect environmental conditions (Ruiz-Garcia et al., 2009). The sensors can feel data such as temperature, relative humidity and levels of volatile compounds, among other environmental data. In addition to the sensor, each node consists of a micro controller and an antenna that allows communication with other nodes (Xiao et al., 2017). The dominant application of this technology has been identified in cold chains. This kind of chain is prepared to store and distribute temperature-sensitive foods such as fresh fruits, vegetables, meats and other perishables, and then it benefits from the real-time temperature and humidity records (Kim et al., 2015). Among the authors studied, most of them pointed out that the WSN technology for FSC application still needs improvement, mainly because of the high complexity and safety requirements involved in food handling. #### 3.1.3 IoT For Giusto et al. (2010), IoT is based on the concept of allowing intelligent objects to connect with each other, with the environment or with computing devices. This requires six basic elements, starting with a standard of identifying things. The second element is a sensing mechanism, followed by the communication technology that will connect the objects. The fourth element includes software and hardware. The fifth element is the service provided by the system. Finally, the sixth element is the semantics required to extract the right knowledge from different machines in order to provide services (Al-Fuqaha et al., 2015). IoT research covers all FSC stages, from the agricultural production to the tracking of packaged foods. For Atzori et al. (2010), IoT in logistics enables quickly and accurately real-time monitoring of almost every link, so that the entire supply chain can respond to complex and changing markets immediately. #### 3.1.4 RFID, WSN and IoT timeline Both RFID and WSN are technologies that enable IoT; thus, it is quite common to find studies that contemplate the three technologies, allowing for a chronological analysis on the publication frequency of RFID, WSN and IoT to be carried out simultaneously, Figure 3. In 2001, NASA was already conducting research on networked sensors, and in 2002, the Center for Embedded Network Sensing (Silicon Labs, 2013) was created. The company founded at the University of California (UCLA) was responsible for developing sensor systems using the Internet for communication (Abraham, 2006). Thus, in the early years of the century, authors such as Jedermann et al. (2006), Jones (2006) and Nambi et al. (2003) developed research on radiofrequency systems with aggregated sensors. In 2007, the company GS1 entered the market with a database that established a standard of codes for products, the electronic product code (EPC) (GS1, 2007). In 2009, the first peak of RFID publications occurred, and the literature focused its attention on market impacts and consumer perceptions on RFID-tracked products, as well as on technology efficiency, cost‒benefit analysis and FSCT application frameworks. Shanahan et al. (2009) proposed a framework to track the livestock from the farm to the slaughter, adapting the old identification system to the EPC standard. The author highlighted the fact that chain stakeholders are not integrated into the standardized system, besides having dependence on creators who do not always keep the information up to date, making traceability difficult. In the same year, WSN-related research had also grown. Abad et al. (2009) bet on the use of RFID smart tags, integrating sensors and wireless connection system to maintain traceability automatically and in real time, reducing the probability of losing information by human failures. In the next few years, the use of WSN triggered the increase of the publication frequency. In 2012, the first citation of the IoT appeared in the literature. In the following year, the number of publications reached their peak, when IoT expectations began to grow, according to Postscapes (2018), the main company involved in research, control and standardization of IoT. With the development of IoT, the research focuses on active and semi-passive RFID tags for communication with the WSN. Parreno Marchante et al. (2013) used WSN and RFID for improvements in the supply chain traceability of farmed fish. Expósito et al. (2013) also researched the two technologies concurrently, applied in wine’s supply chain. Both obtained positive results in reducing the time for data collection and processing. However, in the wine chain, failure to read and record data occurred due to people’s lack of ability to multi-task while operating the equipment and directing the RFID antenna. From 2014 to 2016, RFID-related citations decreased; however, research on WSN and IoT continued to grow. In 2017, there was an increase in research, generally seeking to integrate several innovative technologies. For example, Chen (2017) analyzed the value added to food products by cyber physical systems allied to IoT. Through Pearson’s correlation (Myers and Sirois, 2014) between the frequency of general publications and the frequency of publication on RFID, WSN and IoT, at 0.01 significance levels, correlation indexes equal to 0.876, 0.850 and 0.799, respectively, were obtained, with p-value<0.01. Given this, it is statistically significant that the variations of publications of the three technologies affect the general behavior of FSCT publications. ### 3.2 HACCP HACCP is a systematic food safety and control tool that is espoused by the Codex Alimentarius, a committee that defines international food standards (FAO/WHO, 2003). It is common to use HACCP from the producer to the final consumer. Implementation of this tool facilitates inspection by regulators and increases international trade by enhancing confidence in food safety (FAO/WHO, 2003). In the literature, this tool is often linked to other standardization systems, such as ISO 9001 (quality management) and ISO 22,000 (food safety management). This can be more efficient than building them independently (Allata et al., 2017; Hajnal et al., 2004). #### 3.2.1 HACCP timeline The creation of this tool took place in the middle of the twentieth century, and it was presented to the world at the end of the same century. In FSCT-related research, HACCP does not appear until 2004, one year after the tool undergoes a review. Figure 4 shows the HACCP’s publication frequency per year. In early 2011, the former US President, Barack Obama, signed the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which required changes in the food industry. HACCP is one of the suggested tools for FSMA adaptation (Safe Food Alliance, 2013), and the practices proposed by the tool are essential for success (Zach et al., 2012). Therefore, in the same year, the publications related to the tool had grown. Beginning in 2013, HACCP searches appeared aggregated to smart technologies. For example, Tian (2017) proposed a food safety system based on HACCP, using IoT integrated with blockchain platform technology, thus increasing the security and transparency of FSC data. Through Pearson’s correlation (Myers and Sirois, 2014) between the frequency of general publications and the frequency of publication on HACCP, at 0.01 significance levels, a correlation index equal to 0.819 was obtained, with p-value<0.01. Given this, it is statistically significant that the variation of publications on HACCP affects the general behavior of FSCT publications. ### 3.3 DNA The technology consists of obtaining a specific sequence of information by the extraction of the DNA through several techniques. This sequence generates a marker that is persistent in food, even after physical and chemical processes. In addition, DNA also allows for the detection of a low concentration of biological adulterants (Pirondini et al., 2010). Galimberti et al. (2015) identified the application of this technology in diverse foods, from fruit, vegetables, aromatic plants, herbs and mushrooms to products of animal origin, be it honey, dairy products, meat or seafood. This demonstrates that the technology can be widely applied to FSCT. #### 3.3.1 DNA timeline Although the first DNA was isolated in the early twentieth century, it was only in the 1990s that the technology became central to food trade. The first field trials of genetically modified plants began in 1990, followed by the commercial release of those in 1992, as well as research related to vaccines, genetically modified hormones and animal cloning (Food and Agriculture Organization, 2004). However, it was in the 2000s, with the advancement of bioinformatics that the DNA extraction process appeared to have been applied to traceability. Figure 5 represents the frequency of FSCT DNA publications from 2000 to 2018. The earliest research on DNA for food traceability relates to the identification of genomes and the characterization of the technology. As of 2004, research studies related to genetically modified organisms (GMO) gained space in the article group. The onset of an intensification of research on genetics happened after the detection of a BT toxin-resistant caterpillar on a plantation, which means that in a short time, the insects and pests adapted to the genetically modified toxin produced by the plants. Miraglia et al. (2004) proposed adaptations in European legislation, with requirements in the detection and traceability of GMOs in food production chains. From 2009, the research works focused on the improvement of DNA extraction methodologies for food traceability. Rao et al. (2009) applied traceability in wheat, olive, apple and tomato food chains, with enhancement of DNA extraction instruments, thus guaranteeing the quality of products with Protected Designation of Origin and Protected Geographical Indication. From 2011 onwards, research related to the investigation of food contamination through DNA has been frequent. Kudirkienė et al. (2011) traced changes of Campylobacter jejuni genotypes in a broiler flock, assessing the dynamics and sources of carcass contamination with C. jejuni. The publications of the following years focused on the control of highly processed foods, such as the research on DNA barcode extraction for olive oil analysis (Ganopoulos et al., 2013). From 2016, nanotechnology showed up in the research and divided the publications in the literature with optimizations of DNA extraction systems and integration with other technologies. Campuzano et al. (2017) conducted research on electrochemical immunosensors and DNA-based biosensors, techniques used to evaluate fresh foods, raw material quality, origin of samples or to determine a variety of compounds such as micro toxins, allergens, drug residues or pathogenic microorganisms. Through Pearson’s correlation (Myers and Sirois, 2014) between the frequency of general publications and the frequency of publication on DNA, at 0.01 significance levels, a correlation index equal to 0.832 was obtained, with p-value<0.01. Given this, it is statistically significant that the variation of publications on DNA affects the general behavior of FSCT publications. ## 4. FBOs and FSCT correlation There is a growing trend in the number of publications over the years, which correlates with the evolution of the FSCT technologies. Figure 6 shows the frequency of the 1,029 FSCT publications without restriction of technology in the period from 2000 to July 2018. In order to study the correlations of this evolution with the occurrence of FBOs, Table II was obtained through the annual FBO reports from the five countries that export the highest food value in the world ‒ the USA, the Netherlands (NE), France (FR), Germany (GE) and Brazil (BR) (FAOSTAT, 2013). The interval considered was since 2001, when records began in Germany, until 2016. All five countries report data from FBOs after two years, so in 2019 and 2020, the countries will report data for 2017 and 2018, respectively. From this data, a correlation analysis was performed between the frequency of publications and the occurrence of FBOs in the five countries with the highest representation in food exports. ### 4.1 USA According to FAOSTAT (2013), the value of US food exports is$225 trillion a year, putting the country at the top of the list of food exporters. The Food and Drug Administration conducts the food control in the USA. Moreover, the CDC conducts the control of FBOs based on reports provided by state, local and territorial health departments in the country, through the Foodborne Disease Outbreak Surveillance System. Figure 7 shows a graph of the occurrence of FBOs in the USA.

Between 1998 and 2008, the institutions reported FBOs in the USA through the electronic Foodborne Outbreak Reporting System (CDC, 2013). At this time, they classified outbreaks as foodborne or waterborne outbreaks (Bennett et al., 2013). During these years, the number of FBOs decreased, except for the years 2004 and 2006. The average number of FBOs reported by the US states was highest in 2004, the year in which federal emergency funding reached its peak. In 2006, states reported that 71 percent of their funding for epidemiological capability came from federal resources. In subsequent years, there were declines in capacity since there was a reduction in this funding, resulting in the reduction of outbreaks reported, partly due to the low capacity of disease detection (CDC, 2013).

In 2009, the Surveillance System for Outbreaks of Foodborne Diseases transferred to a new system, the National Outbreak Reporting System (NORS). This system receives notifications of outbreaks of enteric diseases classified by water transmission, person-to-person contact, animals-to-person contact, environmental contamination and undetermined means, as well as food contamination. In this way, there was a more appropriate classification system for the outbreaks that were previously reported as enteric, even though they were not directly transmitted by food. After the transition to the new system, the number of outbreaks of foodborne diseases reported in 2009 and 2010 decreased by 32 percent, compared to the average of the previous five years (Bennett et al., 2013). After 2011, the NORS system was definitively deployed, and by the year 2016, the records remained stable.

Between 2001 and 2016, the number of reported FBOs followed a declining trend. Through the correlation of Spearman’s ρ, paired year by year, a correlation index equal to −0.756 was obtained, with a p-value<0.01. Therefore, there is an inverse, high and significant correlation between FBO records in the USA and the frequency of FSCT publications, at the 0.01 levels. As the number of FSCT publications has grown, it has reduced the occurrence of FBOs in the USA.

The country with the second highest food export value in the world is the Netherlands, which annually exports close to $98 trillion in food (FAOSTAT, 2013). In the Netherlands, Rijksinstituut Voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu (RIVM), National Institute of Public Health and the Environment, performs the food control and FBO. RIVM bases the data on consumer notifications to the Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority and physician notifications to the Inspectorate for Health Care (Duynhoven et al., 2004). Figure 8 shows a graph of the occurrence of FBOs in the Netherlands. In 2002, a unified OSIRIS database was created for disease reporting in the country (Duynhoven et al., 2004), but until 2006, not all municipal health services in the country were using the system (Doorduyn et al., 2009). Between 2002 and 2004, the incidence of FBOs in the country followed a declining trend. In 2005 and 2006, despite the increase in the number of outbreaks compared to previous years, there was a reduction in the number of people infected. As of 2006, with the unified data collection system installed, the number of reported cases increased. Because of the increase of FBO registrations in 2007, the Dutch authorities proposed an awareness campaign on the need for adequate hygiene during the handling or storage of food products. The campaign began in the middle of 2008 and presented positive results in the same year (Doorduyn et al., 2010). The consequence of the campaign carried out by the Dutch government was stronger in the year 2009, when there was a reduction of 23 percent in the number of FBOs in relation to the previous year. This reduction started a new period of decline in FBO cases by 2011. In 2012 and 2013, there was an increase in the incidence of FBOs; according to Friesema et al. (2014), one of its causes may be related to the increase of contaminations resulted from foods prepared at home. In 2014, there was a reduction in the number of FBOs, but the number of infected persons had risen, representing that the outbreaks that occurred were larger and contaminated more people (Friesema et al., 2015). The increment in the occurrence of FBOs in 2015 and 2016 was due to the fact that from 2015, RIVM reported all non-anonymous notifications of FBOs made to the Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority. In previous years, the annual reports only presented cases that underwent investigation at the site of the outbreak following notification (Friesema et al., 2017). In the Netherlands, it was possible to observe downward trend FBOs in the first decade of the 2000s and an upsurge in the second decade due to variations in the form of notification of the outbreaks. Therefore, through the correlation of Spearman’s ρ, it was not possible to find a correlation between the occurrence of FBOs in the Netherlands and the frequency of FSCT surveys, at the 0.01 levels. ### 4.3 France France is the country with the third highest food export rate in the world, exporting annually the value of$96 trillion (FAOSTAT, 2013). In the country, Santé Publique and Institut Veille Sanitaire have monitored FBOs since 1987. In 2004, the health and social affairs directorates of France instituted the WinTiac software. This allowed the registration of foodborne diseases to be more rapid and systematic and the integrated data from national reference centers, for which notification of FBOs is mandatory. Figure 9 shows a graph of the occurrence of FBOs in France.

The growth in the number of FBOs reported in France as of 2006 links to the effort made by the French Food Directorate’s Alerts service to systematize and streamline feedback of the reported information (Santé Publique, 2009). After six years of increase, the number of FBOs reported in 2010 was lower than in the previous year. This decrease was due to the reduction of cases of contamination in restaurants (Santé Publique, 2011). However, this cutback was not constant in the following years, when there was a rise in contamination by food in restaurants and by food prepared at home (Santé Publique, 2017). According to Santé Publique (2017), the factors that contributed most to this increase were the use of poor or inadequate equipment in restaurants and the use of contaminated raw materials in prepared foods in the consumers’ homes.

In 2017, the French Government introduced a system in which consumers had access to the results of health examinations carried out with all establishments in the food chain (restaurants, canteens, slaughterhouses, etc.). This measure aimed to increase control and encouraged the improvement of food establishments’ surveillance (Santé Publique, 2017).

The data show that the French health system improved, thus facilitating the detection of food outbreaks. However, food control is still precarious; as a result, the number of FBOs is increasing. Through the Spearman’s ρ correlation analysis, a year-to-year paired correlation index of 0.921 was obtained, with p-value<0.01. This represents a high and significant correlation, at the 0.01 levels, between the evolution of traceability technologies and the occurrence of FBOs in France. These data may be indicative of an increase in research to improve food control in order to reduce the number of FBOs.

The country with the fourth highest food export value in the world is Germany, making a total of $91 trillion in exported food (FAOSTAT, 2013). The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (Bundesinstitut für Risikobewertung), in conjunction with the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), is responsible for recording and reporting German public health data. The epidemiological control of the country began in 2001, when the Infection Protection Act came into effect, with the aim of preventing transmissible diseases in humans, detecting infections early and preventing their spread (Robert Koch-Institut, 2002). Figure 10 shows a graph of the occurrence of FBOs in Germany. In the first year of registration, difficulties in the implementation of software and the limitation of public health teams led to a low number of FBOs. The following year, when the system was fully deployed, six times more outbreaks were reported than in 2001. Similar to the USA, until 2005, Germany reported outbreaks of enteric diseases unclassified by waterborne transmission, person-to-person contact, contact with animals, environmental contamination, undetermined means or through food. Therefore, the data from 2002 to 2005 show high numbers (Robert Koch-Institut, 2007). Since 2004, RKI has been collecting data on the role of food in outbreaks through the SurvNet @ RKI system for an integrated outbreak survey. The institute started to report these data in 2006 as explicit cases of FBOs, which justifies the decrease in the number of outbreaks reported. As of 2006, all data were from outbreaks that had a confirmed food origin (Robert Koch-Institut, 2006). In the following years, the occurrence of food outbreaks in Germany decreased, and it tended to stabilize between the years 2012 and 2016. The occurrence of FBOs in Germany followed a line of decline in the years studied. Through the Spearman’s ρ correlation analysis, an index equal to −0.900 and p-value<0.01 were obtained, representing an inverse, high and significant correlation, at 0.01 levels, between publications on FSCT and the occurrence of FBOs in Germany. Similarly, to the USA, as the number of FSCT publications has grown, it has reduced the occurrence of FBOs in Germany. ### 4.5 Brazil Brazil has the fifth food export value in the world. According to the FAOSTAT (2013), the country exports an amount equivalent to$78 trillion in food annually. Brazil began to monitor cases of foodborne diseases in 1999, when municipal and state health units throughout the country started recording occurrences of FBOs in the Notification of Injury Information System (Sinan) to be reported to the Ministério da Saúde (Ministry of Health) (Secretaria de Vigilância em Saúde, 2010). Figure 11 shows a graph of the occurrence of FBOs in Brazil.

Until 2006, health units entered the data into the Sinan Windows system, and from 2007, MS deployed Sinan Net, which incorporated changes in the FBO notification chip variables, increasing the level of details about the outbreaks and improving the classification of those according to their origin (Ministério da Saúde, 2018).

To understand the occurrence of FBOs during these years in Brazil, it is necessary to understand the difference that exists between the regions of the country. In the North, Northeast and Central West regions, there is a low rate of reported FBOs, evidencing that the system is not yet widely implemented (Secretaria de Vigilância em Saúde, 2005). For this reason, the growth in the number of FBOs represents the expansion of the system of detection and notification of diseases by the municipal and state health units in these regions. In contrast, the Southern and Southeastern regions are more developed and the municipal and state health systems have greater detection capacity and a higher rate of implementation of the notification system. In addition, the two regions concentrate the largest portion of the Brazilian population. Therefore, they present a higher number of outbreak reports and tend to represent a result that is closer to reality, which is a decrease in the number of outbreaks in these two regions (Secretaria de Vigilância em Saúde, 2005).

Due to the conflict between the expansion of the notification system in part of the country and the reduction in the number of outbreaks where the notification system is more efficient, the data reported by Brazil are not regular. Thus, through the correlation analysis of Spearman’s ρ, at 0.01 levels, no significant correlation index was found between FSCT publications and the occurrence of FBOs in Brazil. It may also represent a reflection of the lack of regulation in the country for the traceability of food, making the practice uncommon in Brazil (FISPAL, 2018).

## 5. Conclusion

The literature on FSCT has evolved over the last 18 years, especially with the emergence of intelligent technologies. However, FSC need ways to increase the security and transparency of traceability data and require further integration and standardization of systems for complex food export and distribution chains.

The evolution of food traceability technologies is one of the factors for reducing the number of food outbreaks in countries that have great control systems for food and food outbreaks ‒ USA and Germany. In the Netherlands, Brazil and France, it was not possible to identify the relationship between the occurrence of food outbreaks and the literature regarding food traceability technologies, mainly because the Netherlands and Brazil were deficient in their FBO notification systems. Moreover, in France, the growing number of FBO has been indicative of a lack of concern for security in agri-food establishments.

The results obtained may serve as a basis for decisions related to implementation, public policies and regulation of food traceability systems, as well as decisions related to public health. In addition, the results assist the academic community in conducting new research related to food traceability. The development of complementary investigation considering food import data is suggested for future research. In addition, an analysis of the types of food related to FBOs, in order to understand the ways of contamination and to relate to the traceability technologies most appropriate for each situation, may also be considered in the future.

## Figures

#### Figure 1

Steps of the systematic literature review

#### Figure 2

Citation per technology (>10)

#### Figure 3

RFID, WSN and IoT frequency of publication

#### Figure 4

HACCP frequency of publication

#### Figure 5

DNA frequency of publication

#### Figure 6

Frequency of FSCT publication (2000-June 2018)

#### Figure 7

FBOs per year in USA

#### Figure 8

FBOs per year in the Netherlands

#### Figure 9

FBOs per year in France

#### Figure 10

FBOs per year in Germany

#### Figure 11

FBOs per year in Brazil

## Table I

Search protocol

 Database ScopusEmerald InsightWeb of ScienceScience Direct Phrases (Supply chain OR Cold Chain)AND Food AND(Traceability OR Tracking OR Tracing) Year 2000–2018 Document type Conference/Research/Review

## Table II

FBO reports

USA NE FR GE BR
2001 1,249 294 550 873 897
2002 1,318 349 632 5.451 823
2003 1,089 324 580 4.850 620
2004 1,328 277 644 5.065 645
2005 964 301 584 1.168 923
2006 1,256 295 908 1.319 577
2007 1,098 315 1.095 1.394 683
2008 1,027 294 1.124 1.061 641
2009 669 226 1.255 592 594
2010 852 217 1.032 390 498
2011 796 183 1.153 369 795
2012 833 254 1.288 334 863
2013 824 271 1.346 347 861
2014 872 196 1.380 352 886
2015 919 398 1.390 318 673
2016 841 583 1.455 328 538

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## Acknowledgements

This study was financed in part by the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior ‒ Brasil (CAPES) ‒ Finance Code 001.

## Corresponding author

Ana Elisa Vianna Magalhães can be contacted at: anaevm20@gmail.com