Holiday Issue 2009: What Happened at the FDA/USDA Hearing on Food Traceability
On December 9th and 10th, the FDA and the USDA's FSIS held a joint hearing to solicit input on Product Tracing Systems for Food (see the Federal Register V. 74 No. 211 p 56843). Specifically they wanted to understand the core elements of product tracing systems, identify gaps in current systems, and identify mechanisms to enhance tracing systems
There was general agreement for the need for electronic recordkeeping and standardized language (e.g. GS1) to facilitate rapid recalls and better investigation of sources. There was also strong support from the majority of presenters for the need for standardized barcode-based, case-level identification to achieve whole chain traceability, generally aligned with the PTI (e.g., PMA, IFT), and that it should apply to everyone to keep a level playing field. The results of a pilot study in Florida were presented that visualized data uploaded from company internal databases- that showed the promise of whole chain traceability.
While much of the discussion focused on case-level traceability, representatives from consumer groups made a strong case to not ignore consumers as part of the equation. After all, case-level traceability is more farm-to-forklift, than farm-to-fork. HarvestMark demonstrated its visualization tools and new iPhone application for instant traceability.
United Fresh and PMA Want to Hear Your Opinion on PTI
A year in, the originators of the PTI are asking the industry to provide feedback on the initiative, to help guide go-forward plans. You can take the survey here, deadline is Jan 4th 2010.
Gift of Growing Campaign 2009
3 computers. 4 cameras. 6 large bags of potting soil. 12 days. 25 lbs of seeds. And lots and lots of light.
During the holiday season we support a cause that is aligned with our values and vision. For the second year in a row we're funding school gardening programs.
This year we're funding 11 programs that give children hands-on experience about where their food comes from. The programs are at high-need and high-poverty schools in Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas and Washington D.C.
In celebration, we decided to grow our message this year. It seemed like the perfect way to get the word out. Click here to see the 30-second stop motion film. We believe in the gift of growing and this is just one of the many ways that we share that gift with others.
Happy holidays from HarvestMark!