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Trace Food Back to Field
How cool would it be if we were able to scan a tomato at our local supermarket and see where it was grown and when it was picked? This technology may not be far away. A few years ago food producers in the US and Canada joined together to create the Produce Traceability Initiative. The system uses a bar code to track fruits and veggies from field to fork. Right now it is voluntary to participate, but lawmakers are looking at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) passing it into law.
If it passes, the companies selling food in America will have to adopt a tracking system that will be able to track food from farmer to the field, to the picker, the packer, the shipper, the wholesaler, and the shop. All of this would happen within two days if a case of food poisoning is reported.
The tracking system is already available in the form of radio frequency identification (RFID) tags. They are tiny chips that emit a stream of digital data when energized by a radio beam. You don't even need to see the tag to read it. Others want food producers to use an electronic tracking system similar to what Fed Ex uses. The challenge with this is that many different companies handle the food as it travels, unlike one company shipping a package.
The benefits to a tracking system would be mainly for food safety and trackability if there is a contamination outbreak. In addition, consumers like the ability to trace their food back to it's origin.
Pretty cool technology, huh?