As the summer growing season kicks into high gear, fruit growers and others involved in the global produce supply chain increasingly need to utilize automated data collection software for food traceability to keep tabs on products and ensure consumer safety.
Once upon a time, the fruits and vegetables consumed almost exclusively came from local operations. Now, thanks to the proliferation of technology such as cold storage trucking, food can be sent fresh from one part of the world to another location in days. For example, the United States now imports more than $16 billion worth of vegetables and fruit in an average year, according to a 2012 report from the Congressional Research Service.
While this trend has served to significantly expand the typical American palette, it also dramatically expands the supply chain food traceability processes needed to get food from the farm to the table. As a result, shipping food is an increasingly complex process. With more people and organizations involved in one shipment, there is a higher likelihood of an error occurring that could negatively impact the consumer experience. For instance, although many people think only meat presents a serious food borne illness-related public health issue, one recent example proves this to be false. In June, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a recall involving pomegranate seeds from Turkey that caused 131 people to contract hepatitis A.
Trying to account for all possible variables within a supply chain as diversified and global as the one responsible for delivering produce to Americans may seem like an impossible order, but automated data collection can help companies comply with ever increasing food traceability laws and regulations. As The Packer recently noted, food safety issues can crop up at any point within the supply chain. Barcode software and other automated data collection solutions make it far easier for organizations to collect and share data from the greenhouse to the grocery store. That way, in the rare event of a recall notice or other fruit-related calamity, a company has the tools needed to respond accordingly.