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March 1, 2011

HarvestMark Lets Consumers Trace Food Paths

Indiana Public Media

by Julie Rooney |  March 01, 2011

"Thanks to pressure from the federal food safety law and consumer concern about the many food-borne illnesses that gained national attention over the last few years, the ability to track food from production to plate is increasingly important...

"Some food producers are barcoding their food so that when it’s scanned by a smart phone the consumer can see where it’s from, if it’s been recalled, and contact information for the producer. Other application designers have made apps that grade the product on a health scale, show results of restaurants’ health inspections, and demystify labels.

"HarvestMark, a California developer that is used by more than 200 companies including Kroger’s, has made a barcode system that traces the path a food product has taken from the farm to where it was purchased. Often, if the consumer does not have a smart phone, the barcode number can be entered on a website to retrieve the same information.

"Supporters and traceability developers say that using technology in this way can help consumers make more informed decisions about the food they buy and will help stop food-borne illnesses from spreading so quickly. These systems help to keep food producers accountable for their products while making sense of the vast amount of information available about the product."

Read the full article.