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More than 500 million produce items and cases from dozens of produce brands across the United States and Mexico are carrying YottaMark’s HarvestMark traceability solution, which speeds response of food safety events while providing new brand and product information for both produce buyers and consumers alike, according to company executives.
Traceability is a burning issue for the produce industry, and one that is being addressed with coordinated programs such as the Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI) to help drive changes to improve whole chain traceability and enhance food safety response programs. Groups such as the National Watermelon Association have published commodity-specific food safety guidelines that include traceability. The recent announcement from the Obama administration’s Food Safety Working Group (FSWG), which includes the recommendation for a national trace-back and response system, and the food safety legislation pending in Congress, underscore the role of traceability in shortening the time between outbreak detection, resolution and recovery.
“We were encouraged to see that the Obama administration’s report echoes the requirements articulated by produce commodity groups and the PTI, validating the efforts already underway by the produce industry and HarvestMark customers on both item- and case-level traceability,” said J. Scott Carr, president and CEO of Redwood City, Calif.-based YottaMark.
As traceability becomes an essential tool for food safety and customer management across the perishables supply chain, Carr said HarvestMark codes now appear on over 500 million produce packages, including berries, watermelons, peppers, tomatoes, onions, potatoes, cucumbers and table grapes. Over 50 produce brands across the United States and Mexico are using HarvestMark for their item and/or case-level traceability needs, while thousands of consumers for the first time have been able to trace their produce back to the point of origin, learn about the brand and grower, and give direct feedback about a specific item to the grower/shipper.