Smart consumers not only look for organic produce, but they also track food safety with new technology, called the Leaf Locator. Born in the wake of the 2006 E. coli scare from spinach grown in California, shoppers now want to know where their produce has been. In other words, they want to be able to easily track fruits and vegetables to their source.
With the popularity of farmers’ markets in the U.S. and other countries, the local food movement needs some security measures to help shoppers feel more comfortable. Chiquita Brands International subsidiary, Fresh Express, is now working to provide produce buyers the ability to trace fresh produce back to its roots.
The Leaf Locator tool is a way for shoppers to enter a tracking code (found on bagged salads) that will determine where the greens were grown, in addition to weather and soil conditions. More than 60 Fresh Express salad products in 24,000 grocery stores nationwide are using the tracking code technology.
In addition to Leaf Locator, be sure to check out HarvestMark, from YottaMark, Inc. If you purchase California berries, you are probably already using the HarvestMark tracking system. The clamshell containers of Driscoll berries already have stickers with the HarvestMark traceability code.
If you want to key into fresher, healthier produce, its easy to key in the code on the HarvestMark website or even scan it in with a free iPhone application.
HarvestMark, and other produce tracking tools are developed in compliance with the Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI), as a result of increased consumer interest in health, food safety, and sustainability, and more public awareness of food recalls and other food safety issues.
I don’t know about you, but the idea of being able to track food safety with a UPC code on packaging or a tag is really exciting.
What do you think? Technology that’s gone too far, or just what we need in this day and age?