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March 1, 2011

HarvestMark to Benefit from Food Safety Legislation

Environmental Health Perspective

by David A. Taylor | March 01, 2011

"When President Obama signed the FDA [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] Food Safety Modernization Act into law on 4 January 2011, it marked the farthest-reaching changes to the U.S. food safety system in more than 70 years. Crafted in light of concern over foodborne disease outbreaks and perceived underinvestment in food-inspection capacity, the law combines a mandate for more FDA inspections with authority to respond quickly to illness outbreaks…

"The new law leaves it to industry to decide which technologies to use to track outbreaks and manage tracking data. 'Frequent shopper' cards used by grocery stores to track customers’ preferences may help. Some stores’ cards track food lot numbers, and they have led to recalls in some cases, according to David Goldman, assistant administrator for the Office of Public Health Science at the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service.

"Some experts expect what the Washington Post called 'a small gold rush' among tech companies anticipating a growing market in new food-tracking technologies. The California-based company HarvestMark, Inc., for example, markets the HarvestMark system, which lets consumers scan produce labels using an iPhone app or type in tracking numbers online to learn precisely where the produce was grown and when it was harvested. HarvestMark is currently used by 200 companies."

Read the full article.