March 4, 2011
Tracking Produce from Field to Fork
By Jane O'Brien, BBC News, Washington | March 04, 2011
"California-based HarvestMark is one of the first US companies to offer consumers the ability to trace their food.
"Launched five years ago, it has already bar-coded 2.3bn items for 200 food producers.
"When a crop is harvested, the farmer uploads key information to HarvestMark which the company links to a unique code on the label.
"Consumers can either scan the code in the store using a mobile phone camera, or they can enter it into a computer at home to find out where the product was grown, the type of seed that was used and whether it was subject to a recall. They can even offer feedback to the farmer.
" 'This traceability technology will be used for things you can only begin to imagine,' says HarvestMark founder Elliott Grant.
" 'In the future, there will be radio frequency tags so you won't have to point your phone at individual items but just wave it at the basket to trace everything in it.' "
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