FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How much is it?
Several pricing options are available. Fees generally consist of a set-up fee to establish the baseline, and the ongoing fee to maintain the program with verification sampling and reporting. Source Certain will work with each customer to establish the most cost effective service.
Can the technology be tricked or circumvented?
No. One of the most valuable aspects of this technology is that the determination of provenance is independent from human intent. This is a significant advancement from existing paper-based, barcode, RFID, Blockchain based traceability systems, applied taggant technologies or quality assurance systems. In these situations, the system is only as reliable as the people running the system and the quality of the data input. Until now, it has been extremely difficult to confirm the authenticity of products and traceability of a product. Especially if it is outside your business or immediate team.
What happens if the verification proves the associated traceability is wrong?
At Source Certain we're focused on improving overall supply chain integrity and traceability systems. In fact, we expect to verify that the labelled source is incorrect. When verification shows the traceability data to be incorrect, this is discussed with the customer and strategies are put in place to review and fix the problem. Source Certain aims to restore the integrity of the supply chain.
How does the technology work?
We determine what we call an “chemical fingerprint” of the commodity or products within a supply chain that we need to verify. Not dissimilar to our own fingerprints, which are unique to us, a chemical fingerprint of a product is unique to the location of production or manufacture. The fingerprint of a product is a direct reflection of where and how it was produced (its geographical origin and production system) as well as how it might have been processed.
Why does this technology work?
The technology works because the supply chain is designed to take the product from a source to a consumer. As we can uniquely identify the commodities and define the supply chain, it is possible to apply the technology to verify that the products reaching a consumer are from the intended source. Being able to apply the technology this way enables us provide services that build security and integrity into ALL supply chains that has not been possible until now.
How accurate is it?
The technology is extremely sensitive and accurate, certainly more accurate than human processing and analysis. The technology can be used to determine the individual shed from which an egg on a supermarket shelf originated. A combination of both the fundamental analytical concept and the quality assurance built into the services though the relationship between Source Certain and scientists at TSW Analytical provides extra scrutiny and robustness. In fact, the technology has not ever been shown to be incorrect!
Do you use DNA or isotopes?
We typically use a combination of chemical based profiling methods, as opposed to biological based profiling methods within our services, mainly because of accuracy and cost effectiveness for the service applications. The complexity of supply chains and the heavy processing that occurs in some of these, we have found that the chemical profiling methods are the most robust for traceability of food. DNA profiling does have some applications, particularly for species identification. Source Certain will incorporate these techniques in investigations if the technical team deem it to be the best scientific approach.
Can this be used in court?
Yes, the TSW Analytical Forensic Science team routinely apply this sort of technology to forensic investigations. For example, the technology has been used in a large number of gold theft investigations, and has been used in courts across a number of international jurisdictions. The team have successfully had the technology entered into Case Law across many jurisdictions.
How long does it take to get a result?
There are a lot of variables that determine the time it takes to get a result. The time will largely be determined by the result expected by a customer; all Source Certain services can be tailored to meet specific needs. It is possible to complete a verification of a sample within 18-24 hours if there is need to have rapid information or confirmation. This may be pertinent to industries battling trade barriers or producers or retailers with obstacles related to product recall.
What products can Source Certain work with?
Source Certain offers real provenance for all products and ALL SUPPLY CHAINS. The levels of traceability that will be achieved will depend on how the source location is defined, which in turn is based on customer need. For example, defining traceability of a hamburger will have a different requirements than an apple and hence these services are delivered differently.
Why would anyone be interested in knowing where their product comes from?
The push for transparency is a global one. Consumers seek a greater connection to their food and other products. They want to know how the product was produced, under what conditions and if it is food-based, whether the ethical concerns were met. Producers want to know that the products going to market under their brand, are theirs. Distributors and retailers need to know that the products they are selling down the supply chain are indeed what they have been told they are. Retailers want confidence that they are delivering the best quality and safest food, but also that labelling claims can be verified.
What does Source Certified mean?
If you are the supplier who is making a claim about your product (e.g. ethical/quality) then, upon authentication, Source Certain will grant the Source Certified TM logo for use on products so that your customers can have confidence that they are getting what they are paying for.