Feature Article

February 08, 2013

Advanced Traceability Solutions Offers High-Tech Food Tracking for Farming Sector

Advanced Traceability Solutions (ATS) provides advanced technology to make sure crops and other foods are tracked from fields and farms all the way to the shelves of the local grocery store.

ATS features mobile data collection with mobile PC, scanner and mobile printers. They automatically print labels with exact GPS coordinates and timestamps. That lets growers track a crop, its variety, the work crew, location, date and time.

"Using ATS's Mobile PC with scanner and mobile Printer combined with Bar Code Cheat Sheets (crop, variety, grove ID and crew) saves time, increases accuracy and most importantly enables bins of raw product to be processed through packing facility via scanning of bar codes at each step of the process," Don Edgar of New Limeco in Princeton, Fla., said about the technology in a statement carried by MobilityTechzone.

In addition, Doug Mason of Mason Farms in Williamson, NY, said that before ATS, “we manually labeled apple bins and shipped directly from the orchard which was very difficult and mistake prone. Now, we ship directly from the field with customer required information and bar codes firmly secured to each bin. Plus, all the data on the mobile PC is easily sent to the master database for tracking — both for inventory and food safety purposes.”

Recent allegations involving horsemeat contamination of beef supply in Poland underscore the importance of proper testing and traceability in the food industry. The controversy could even be a fraud, news reports said.

Sue Clarke, senior information management analyst at Ovum, explained in a recent statement that “traceability in the food industry has been in force in Europe since 2005, and this has resulted in much quicker, simpler, and cheaper product recalls, as well as allowing the source of contamination to be traced quickly.”

“Ensuring traceability requires organizations to have effective systems in place to ensure that they can trace components back to previous stages in the manufacturing process as well as forwards to the next manufacturers in the supply chain in order to make sure that they are quickly able to identify any components that are affected by a problem and subsequent recall,” she added. “The use of traceability systems has allowed the affected organizations and regulators to trace the likely source of the contaminated meat to Poland. However, the damage to the companies affected has already been done, the meat industry has been discredited and the suppliers of the meals have suffered brand damage, and will inevitably suffer from loss of sales.”

A traceability and product recall solution based on an ECM system means that documentation received from other organizations in the supply chain can be stored in the repository, including images of paper documents which have been scanned and had relevant information extracted, according to her statement.

“It is being claimed that there has been criminal involvement in the horsemeat contamination scandal, but the ability to trace food components back to their origins through the use of software systems means that criminals should be apprehended much quicker,” she added.

Edited by Ashley Caputo

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