A computerised food-tracking system is due to be launched by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, in a bid to reassure consumers about food safety following a number of food poisoning scandals. The system, which has been in the process of development at the ministry since fiscal '99, will involve about 12 perishable food items carrying important information in a barcode. The recorded data is intended to show the freshness of the meat or vegetables by detailing the producer to retailer process; listing the producer, harvest date, delivery method and transport company.The ministry, which is expected to request a further Y300m to continue the project through fiscal 2001, is currently attempting to encourage farm cooperatives to enter the scheme and supermarkets to install the computer screens necessary for customers to read the barcodes.