Our Newsletter:
Traceability Insider

August 2014
How Digitization is About to Change the Rules of Your Business

June 2014
Food Waste, We are Fed Up, and a Gladson Case Study

May 2014
Ag Tech and the Power of Catchy Criticism

March 2014
Labels are Soooo 1990, “Thorny” food labeling law

January 2014
Oxymoronic Grocery Predictions and Big Data for the Produce Industry

December 2013
The Gift of Growing – Helping Kids Get Their Hands Dirty!

November 2013
Produce Brand Strategy, Visibility and Transparency

September 2013
A "Lean" Supply Chain, Knowing your Shopper

April 2013
Food Waste, The Rolling Stones, Raley's, and Tanimura & Antle

March 2013
First Look! FDA Releases IFT Traceability Report and Lessons from Europe's Horsemeat Crisis Every Fresh Food Brand Should Learn

January 2013
What Does the Future Hold?

September 2012
"Locale" Produce and Reducing the Impact of Recalls

January 2012
Making the Case for Traceability

September 2011
GTINs – the Devil Is in the Details

August 2011
Turbocharge Mobile Marketing with HarvestMark and QR Codes

May 2011
Traceability Insider

January 2011
It's a New Year. What's the latest on PTI?

May 2010
HarvestMark Makes its VoiceCode™ Solution Open Source

December 2009
IFT Publishes Traceability Report for FDA

Holiday Issue 2009
What Happened at the FDA/USDA Hearing on Food Traceability

September 2009
Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food

August 2009
How to Avoid Synching Without Trace

July 2009
What's the Value of PTI?

May 2009
Case-Level and Item-Level Traceability-What You Need to Know

April 2009
Still Have Questions about PTI? Don't Worry, You're Not Alone

March 2009
PTI, GS1, GTIN, GLN? HarvestMark's Got the FAQs

January 2009
The First PTI Milestone is Around the Corner

December 2008
A Pivotal Year for Food Safety

November 2008
FDA Solicits Public Comment on Enhanced Produce Traceability

October 2008
Produce Traceability Initiative Action Plan Released

September 2008
How Will Greater Transparency Enhance Your Business?

Español - 01 2012
Elaborando el Caso para Trazabilidad

Español - 03 2012
La Más Reciente Norma de la FDA es Efectiva Inmediatamente. ¿Debería Usted Estar Preocupado?

August 2013
How Walmart Could Implement PTI, Crowdsourced Shopper Insights

June 2010
How to Interpret the PTI announcement of "Goal Unchanged, Milestones Adjusted"

December 2010
An Update on the PTI

July 2010
Produce Traceability in Foodservice

February 2010
What's Going on with the PTI

March 2010
Consumer Attitudes to Traceability

August 2010
HarvestMark Launches Consumer Campaign in Portland, OR

March 2011
Have you heard of the PLU DataBar Initiative?

November 2011
Traceability? There’s an App for That

December 2012
It’s all new. Introducing HarvestMark 2013.

March 2012
The FDA's Latest Ruling is Effective Immediately. Should You be Worried?

June 2012
Do QR Codes REALLY Drive Shopper Engagement?

Become a Traceability Insider

Learn what's happening in the world of traceability and beyond in our monthly Traceability Insider. Subscribe today to get the latest news on HarvestMark as well as commentary, insight and information on the latest issues and trends impacting the industry.

March 2010: Consumer Attitudes to Traceability

Last year we added traceability to about a billion items of produce. What's driving this demand?

Here are some real quotes from consumers to the brand owner:

"I thought you'd like to know that the Trace Me sticker was the deciding factor in my choice to buy these peppers. I chose them INSTEAD of others in the bin, which did not have a sticker because I like to know where the food I give my family comes from." Safeway Shopper, VA

"How cool to be able to track my potato! I love it. Thanks for making this great product and for creating this cool Web site." Consumer, San Diego, CA

"I LOVE that I can trace my food", Consumer, San Dimas, CA

Shoppers have also used traceability to give feedback – positive and negative – directly to the grower that can be correlated with a specific harvest event. What do they want to know about? Location, food safety status and practices, and growing practices (e.g. pesticide usage).

Traceability provides not only a recall tool but a way to enhance the connection with the consumer, build brand loyalty, and improve quality.

Implementing PTI in Field-Packed Workflows


For growers who pack cases in the field, PTI presents some particular challenges. Printing labels in the field is feasible – but means putting technology into a harsh environment. Printing in advance is difficult when the SKU and volumes to be packed are unpredictable – particularly as the GTIN is usually very specific and the label must be lot-specific.

Labeling at the cooler once cases are palletized is feasible – but often presents logistical challenges. The HarvestMark team has deep experience of deploying traceability solutions in the field, and has developed solutions to meet all these packing situations – pre-printed labels, print-in-the-field, and print at the cooler. For packers who are considering printing in the field, keep in mind the following:

  • Handheld computers should be rated at least IP54, preferably IP65. This is a measure of how they can handle dirt and water ingress. IP65 means the device is dust proof, and can withstand washdown with a low pressure water jet. You should also make sure it can withstand drops.
  • Consider battery life and the ability to ‘hot swap' batteries (i.e. you can change the battery without the device shutting down) – running out of power during packing is not an option.
  • Think carefully about the practicality of the small ‘hip mounted' printers. Hip mounted printers are only designed to print 2-3 rolls of labels per day. Going beyond this will result in premature breakdown and servicing of the printers. Depending on the dimensions of the label these printers are therefore limited to labeling a few hundred cases per day.
  • Choose a computer that can also run other applications (such as labor or field data collection). Ideally the device should be full Windows XP – not Windows Mobile which is much more limited.

We understand the tradeoffs and the technology for field operations, and have deployed systems at hundreds of farms. Please contact us if you field-pack and are looking to comply with PTI.

Making Traceability Interesting

We love a challenge. We tasked our marketing team to make a two-minute animated short that made food traceability interesting, informative, entertaining, and even … fun.

It was originally designed for the watermelon industry (those in the business will get the references) – but we decided to share it with everyone. Enjoy – and please let us know what you think.

You can watch it on YouTube here or in higher resolution here.