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.

August 2010: HarvestMark Launches Consumer Campaign in Portland, OR

HarvestMark codes have now been applied to well over 1.5 billion items of produce. Consumers can discover that their produce is traceable, by text on the label such as “trace me” or “see where I was grown.” The HarvestMark team has now begun its direct consumer marketing – to raise awareness of traceable produce.

Our research found that a consumer’s likelihood to purchase a product jumped 12 percentage points after they experienced HarvestMark traceability. So, increasing consumers’ awareness of HarvestMark can translate into significant benefits for our customers.


We’re often asked what is the most effective ‘call out’ on the label – what words drive the highest trace rate? Certainly, saying something in plain English like “Follow me back to the farm” is much better than saying nothing at all, but there’s no single phrase yet that appears better than any other. It’s more important where the text is. Consumers generally ignore everything on the bottom of the package – so call outs on the top are much more effective.

Check out the great call out on this package of OrganicGirl greens that not only tells the consumer what to expect, but also how to trace: “See where and when I was grown. Enter the code at HarvestMark.com.”

Interpreting the Manager's Version of the Food Safety Enhancement Act

The Senate recently published the manager’s version of S.510, the Food Safety Enhancement Act. The House partner bill (HR2749) passed in 2009, and this is the version that will likely go to the Senate floor for a vote in September (especially given the momentum created by the egg recall). The Traceability Insider has parsed the document for insight into what this means for traceability.

  • Sec. 204 of the Act deals with traceability of all food (not just produce).
  • Specifically, Sec. 204[c] legislates that the Government will establish within the FDA a system to receive information to “rapidly and effectively track and trace food…. In the US or for import into the US”.
  • A lot of the document deals with how the Government will determine the most appropriate design for this system through running pilots of existing systems. The exact method, however, is not specified – but it is very likely to involve, at a minimum, recording the handler, SKU, and lot information.
  • There’s a section on additional recordkeeping for ‘high risk foods’, and what won’t be required of them. The baseline and additional information requirements, and what constitutes a ‘high risk food’ are yet to be determined (perhaps any commodity that’s had a recall in the last 5 years). Importantly, a ‘full pedigree’ captured by each participant will not be required – which means that one-up/one-back (like PTI) is consistent with the Act.
  • There are exemptions for small farmers – which are controversial. There’s also some wiggle in the language that could let certain groups off the hook in the future. There’s a clause that says that the information may be delivered non-electronically – which is odd given that the entire raison d’être for the bill was more efficient data sharing, but this is likely to only apply to farmers, not to packers, re-packers, shippers, processors, or retailers and foodservice operators.

Bottom line: the bill establishes the foundation for a mandatory traceability system in food, but leaves a lot of the specifics to a later date. The Act is silent on whether the system will be standards based (e.g. PTI/GS1) – preferring instead to let market forces decide.