GS1 US® has published a new guidance to help the food industry leverage GS1 Standards to address the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Food Traceability Final Rule, which requires additional traceability records for certain foods under Section 204 of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

The document, titled, Application of GS1 System of Standards to Support FSMA 204 was created by industry members who are part of the GS1 US Foodservice and Retail Grocery Working Groups. The guidance defines the best practices for product and location identification, structured product descriptions, and the recording of common industry-defined events to support the new traceability requirements.

The Food Traceability Final Rule mandates companies that physically handle certain foods on the FDA Food Traceability List to keep additional records to assist in tracebacks during an investigation of a foodborne illness outbreak. The new guidance document highlights how voluntary GS1 Standards will help prepare systems and business processes to meet the January 2026 compliance deadline. The document is intended to help all companies that handle food to maximize supply chain visibility and advance food safety practices.

Previously, per the 2002 Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act, “one up, one down” visibility of a product’s movement through the supply chain was required. According to the Food Traceability Final Rule, supply chain partners will now have to keep more detailed records on Critical Tracking Events (CTEs) and Key Data Elements (KDEs) for two years for foods on the Food Traceability List. In the event of a recall, data transfer of those records will also be required within 24 hours to expedite recalls and in an effort to help curb foodborne illness.

The present document provides guidance on how GS1 Standards help bring structure to data being and make interoperability between systems possible.

Application of GS1 System of Standards to Support FSMA 204: