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GDST Standard

The GDST updated the Standard in 2022 and now in 2023, is this going to continue to be a yearly cycle?

No, the 1.2 update is required solely because the underlying GS1 standard completed its first update in seven years to align with current best practices. There are currently no other updates planned for the technical requirements after the 1.2 update.

Why can’t the GDST support two data formats indefinitely?

Having a single data format is critical for interoperability. If the GDST standard allowed solutions to choose their preferred data format, interoperability would be lost, as a solution using XML would not be able to communicate interoperably with a system that uses JSON. A single data format reduces the cost and complexity of interoperability for all actors.

How will this impact GDST tests and tools? Will there be a transition period? What will this mean for GDST partners currently using the tools?

The GDST’s tests and tools (i.e., the Capability Test and Completeness Tool) will continue to support XML and JSON data formats for six months after the 1.2 Standard is released; after this transition period, GDST tools will support only JSON. Those who have passed the Capability Test based on the 1.1 Standard requirements will need to re-take the test to ensure that their solution is aligned with the updated Standard.

What tools are available to support solution providers and/or in-house solutions through this update?

The GDST has created open-source libraries that will support a series of models that reflect the EPCIS/GS1 vocabulary models, mappers to support moving data into/out of XML/JSON/JSON-LD, and Master Data and EPCIS extensions specific to GDST. These will reduce the cost of developing standardized traceability software and improve interoperability between systems.

Who will be impacted by this update and how will they be impacted?

This update will primarily impact solution providers and supply chain actors that use proprietary/internally developed traceability solutions. These solutions will need to be updated to support the JSON-LD data format if they do not already support it.

We do not anticipate that this update will be burdensome for GDST stakeholders. Many solutions are already using JSON and will require minimal updates to their systems. In fact, the EPCIS standard (and the GDST Standard by extension) was updated to reflect industry demand and the widespread use of JSON. For those that do not currently support JSON, open-source tools developed by the GDST are being made available to ease the transition.

What, specifically was updated?

The scope of this update was limited to the data format supported by the GDST. Previous versions of the EPCIS standard supported the use of an XML data format, the updated version supports the use of a JSON-LD data format. Thus, we adopted JSON-LD as the data format for the GDST and made additional minor changes to align with EPCIS 2.0. These changes are reflected in the revised section 2 of the Technical Implementation Guidance Document. No significant changes were made to the remaining Standard documents. This update did not change the CTE/KDE matrix.

Why was the Standard updated?

The GDST Standard is built upon a foundation of internationally utilized GS1 standards for traceability, specifically, GS1’s EPCIS and Digital Link standards. In 2022, GS1 released an update to their EPCIS standard. The GDST standard was then updated in order to maintain alignment with our foundational standards and industry best practices.

Why is it important to have a Standard?

Implementing traceability systems can be complex and challenging; it requires collaboration among all actors of a supply chain. A standard provides a clear framework for everyone to follow, easing the burden of implementation throughout the supply chain. A shared approach to traceability practices reduces redundant data collection, improves data reliability, and makes traceability more affordable and accessible to all stakeholders.

Standardization is also the foundation of technical interoperability – the ability of different systems to exchange and make use of information. With a common approach to data collection, formatting, and exchange, technology solution providers can design systems that interact seamlessly, without the need for customized integration between systems. This allows seafood companies to choose the system that makes business sense for them without worrying whether their choice will be compatible with systems used by suppliers and customers.

What is the objective of the Standard?

The GDST Standard defines what data must be collected (KDEs – Key Data Elements) and when that data must be collected (CTEs – Critical Tracking Events) as products move through seafood supply chains. It also defines how that traceability data must be formatted and communicated digitally.

Can I access information about the Standard, and implement, without being a Partner?

Yes. Our roots are as a global platform for free knowledge-exchange around digital traceability in seafood. You can download the GDST Standard from this website here, and use this to inform your approach to managing and viewing key information within your supply chain if you’re a seafood business.

Does the completion of the GDST Standard mean the GDST is done with its work?

No. The Standard is continuing to evolve with input from seafood industry and stakeholders across the world, through our Dialogue process. Expansion frameworks addressing human rights and marine ingredients have been presented. Other frameworks addressing areas such as aquatic animal welfare and carbon impact are being developed.
We are also engaging with governments internationally to promote the Standard as part of policies and regulations that support interoperability and verification.

Does the GDST Standard support compliance with SIMP and EU IUU Regulations?

Yes. Both EU and US import controls were considered in developing the lists of Key Data Elements (KDEs).

Does supporting the GDST Standard mean a company has to comply with all aspects of the Standard immediately?

No. It is clearly understood that implementation of the Standard is a journey companies pledge to complete and that companies will move through implementation at different speeds.
GDST Partners must make a specific implementation goal, based on the Standard – a clear ambition for the future, but not an immediate requirement for today. We share and celebrate these commitments on our website and in external communications.

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