Using a Unique Worldwide Identification Principle for Animal Health Products

A unique identification for animal health products provides the opportunity to differentiate throughout the supply chain and is a pre-requisite for the traceability of Animal Health products from production to application. It increases products security and give logistic advantages in the warehouses.

HealthforAnimals has agreed on a unique worldwide identification guideline for Animal Health products production batches. This guideline has been developed as a requirement, so that, when and where product identification is required, there is consistency in the use of a data structure worldwide.

The guideline specifies the use of GS1 application identifiers (AI’s) within a 2 dimensional Data Matrix symbology for encoding the data. As appropriate, this document is based on the General GS1 Specifications for Data Matrix.

Data Matrix has been accepted symbology in the GS1 system since 2005. It was selected because of its small size, error correction, low contrast requirements and the amount of data that can be encoded compared to one-dimension codes.

The use of GS1 Data Matrix is now widespread, and still growing, on both Animal and Human health products, as well as on many commonly used products such as travel tickets, mail packages, etc. Data Matrix symbols are to be printed on all secondary packaging of the registered units of sale. The encoded information will contain the product number, batch number and the expiry date. The product number will be a 14 digit Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) or GS1-13.

Use of this process, together with appropriate IT systems allows accurate electronic identification, tracking and tracing of animal health products.

Download the full 'Guidelines for Application of GS1 Markings to Animal Health Products'