Animal health industry takes initiative on a unique identification system for animal health products

Brussels, 23 November 2023: The animal health industry represented at the IFAH
Board recently endorsed a unique identification system for animal health products. This
industry initiative will begin in Europe where IFAH-Europe membership represents
95% of the European market for veterinary medicinal products.

The system will allow each product batch to be followed throughout the supply chain
using an optical machine readable bar code. This is a pre-requisite for traceability of
animal health products from production to application, and responds to the consumers’
increasing requirements for transparent information on the origin of their food
throughout the chain. IFAH members have agreed on a two-dimensional bar code (Data
Matrix ECC 200), endorsed by EAN.UCC1. This advanced system is the most
appropriate to carry the necessary information, including the product number, batch
number and the expiry date. Data Matrix symbols will be printed on the individual
packaging of the registered units.

Jean Claude Muller, leading the project, stated : ‘Compared with other standards, the
system chosen has the additional advantage of small size, expandability, low contrast
requirements, manufacturing robustness and advanced error correction features, all of
which increase the amount of data that can be encoded.’

1 EAN.UCC is the Global language of Business, a series of standards designed to improve supply chain management.

The implementation time line for the project is three years in the European Union. The
system shall then be applied in other regions throughout the world when local
conditions require product identification.

Patrick James, President of IFAH, said: ‘I am delighted at IFAH’s decision to adopt this
unique identification system for animal health products. The technical solution chosen is
applicable worldwide and can be easily implemented globally.’ He added: ‘The animal
health industry, the users of its products and the Authorities will certainly see the
benefits of this initiative. This is the act of a responsible industry and clearly
demonstrates our willingness to facilitate the traceability of animal health products’.


IFAH, the International Federation for Animal Health is a non-profit international organisation registered under Belgian law. For further information on IFAH, including a list of members,
please visit

For further press information, please contact Diane Chevreux, Communications Advisor

Rue Defacqz, 1
B-1000 Brussels
Tel.: +32 (0)2 543 7567
Fax : +32 (0)2 537 0049
E-mail : [email protected]

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