Barcode system allows instant product identification

By George Reynolds

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Food safety, Food, Escherichia coli

A new identification system can be used to instantly identify the
source of packaged products throughout the supply chain.

HarvestMark said its two-dimensional bar-code based allows anyone, anywhere to instantly trace fresh produce via the internet or cell phone from the home or store back to the specific ranch, field and date on which it was picked. Tracking and tracing is becoming increasingly important to food manufacturers because of the costs involved when contamination is found to have tainted food. The Bioterrorism Act and a series of food safety issues are forcing manufactures to consider the security of products as they move through the supply chain. The system allows anyone to check products at an item level as to its provinance and status. Allowing retailers and consumers to check information about products in their possession could decrease the risk of consumption of recalled foods and reduce the insidence and potential costs to manufacturers. The efficiency and effectiveness of product recalls is also likely to be improved. Another potential benefit of the system is that packaged food with HarvestMark could be seen as safer and increase consumer confidence is such products. HarvestMark's unique, secure, and nonsequential codes are printed on approximately 3/4" by 1/2" labels next to the product's traditional bar code using a variable data printing process that are applied as standard labels to clamshells or other containers. The coded carton of clamshells is then labeled with a special master carton label, which is scanned to associate the detailed harvest data with that particular group of clamshells. Each year there are about 76 million incidents of food poisoning, leading to 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths, according to Centers for Disease Control (CDC). A report published earlier this year by the CDC and Prevention reveals a 50 percent increase in E coli infections since 2004. Last year contaminated spinach sickened nearly 200 people and was linked to one death.

Related topics: Processing & Packaging

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