March 30, 2011
Going from Seed to Supermarket with HarvestMark Traceability
by Jennifer Collins | March 29, 2011
"A new food safety law that requires stores, growers, and distributors to be able to trace every stop in the supply chain is creating a whole new business...
"JENNIFER COLLINS: We've all played that supermarket guessing game: Squeezing, smelling and eyeballing the food -- all in hopes of getting some idea of how fresh it really is. What if you could track that $5 box of raspberries from the field where it was picked to your grocery store cart?
"Elliott Grant founded a company that tracks meat and produce the way FedEx tracks packages. He says people would be surprised to find out how often food changes hands by the time it reaches the store.
"ELLIOTT GRANT: The produce industry is amazingly complex. And the stuff just flies through the supply chain.
"Grant created his first tracking system about five years ago for pharmaceuticals and semiconductors.
"GRANT: In 2006, when there was that terrible spinach outbreak, we happened to have the right technology and we quickly realized that our technology was going to solve this problem.
"So Grant rolled out HarvestMark. Today it's used by 2,500 farms in North and South America. And its coded labels can be found on everything from watermelon to chicken -- and traced by everyone from the guy in the warehouse to a shopper with an iPhone.
"GRANT: Uh, these Driscoll's raspberries, I traced those to... back to Oxnard. Marz farms in Oxnard, Calif. Actually not far from here at all.
"But most produce travels hundreds of miles before it gets to your supermarket.
"Dan Vache heads up supply chain management at the United Fresh Produce Association. He says new food safety regulations that roll out this year will require a point-by-point tracking even as the food changes hands. And that creates an opportunity."
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