Farm-to-fork: Food supply chain safety and traceability with Mitas
By Jessi Wesson, Editor for FASTMOVING - Feb 18th, 21:03
The upward farm-to-fork trend has seen consumers become more invested in knowing the origins and overall quality of their food and concern for sustainable sourcing and food safety practices has taken precedence in the move to greater awareness with food consumption globally. Farmers and manufacturers alike are the direct link in helping consumers connect with this journey of their food from farm-to-fork.
In the wake of increasing high-profile national product recalls due to contamination, there has been a rise in the demand for greater transparency and precision in food supply chains and distribution systems. Farmers and food processors are turning to technology solutions in order to achieve this traceability and visibility and enhance product genealogy capabilities.
We chat to André Jordaan and Gary Chilton at Mitas Corporation about farm-to-fork traceability, navigating product recalls and track-and-trace trends in the industry.
FM: What is farm-to-fork traceability and what are some of the key consumer trends driving the farm-to-fork trend?
TP: Farm-to-fork traceability means the ability to trace any food, feed, food-producing animal to a substance that will be used for consumption, through all stages of production, processing and distribution. Consumers are becoming more aware of what the quality of the product is that they are receiving, such as free-range chickens, grain-fed beef. They are looking at organically grown produce.
FM: How does Mitas Corporation help link food through all points of food distribution from farm to point of sale?
TP: Mitas technology and solutions give organisations the ability to trace a problem with finished product’s process all the way back through the production process, to the farms that produced the raw ingredient or product.
FM: How does Mitas Corporation technologically navigate product recalls?
TP: Our technology can be used by the farmers and their supply chain to aid in the recalling of products when necessary. We can pinpoint where the produce ended up for batch recalls by using unique identification on item level.
FM: What product tracing challenges does Mitas Corporation face and how have they overcome them?
TP: The main problem we are seeing is with buying loose fresh produce as the supply chain can’t say how long the products have been in a store or in transit. Consumers are uneasy about consuming produce with ink on it so we have been suggesting laser marking products with a Co2 laser.
FM: What track and trace trends and innovations do you foresee for the coming year?
TP: Moving away from 1D barcodes to 2D Datamatrix codes and marking directly onto products, with food-grade ink and Co2 lasers.
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Pharmaceutical counterfeiting is putting millions of lives at risk each year, and governments around the world are taking action to address this growing problem. For many, the principal weapon in that fight is track and trace regulations centered on product serialization – assigning and affixing a unique number to products and tracking them throughout the supply chain.
Pharmacode or pharmaceutical binary code is a barcode standard used in the pharmaceutical industry as a packing control system, it is readable despite printing errors and can be printed in multiple colours, which are used to protect pharmaceutical companies from legal liability and is a must for Pharmaceutical traceability. It would allow you to see the origin and other information about the drugs, as well as tracking forward to see the route of the product up until the sale. This would be the core of any form of Pharma track and trace system.
Traceability has become a ‘buzz word’ with regard to food, particularly following a number of food safety incidents during which traceability systems have been shown to be weak or absent and hence slow or unable to assure consumers of food safety. Food crises in the past, such as the Listeriosis outbreak in 2018 have resulted in the consumer calling for greater visibility and precision in the global food supply chain.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is poised to have a major impact on the food supply chain – all the way from the farm to the individual buying food from a retail outlet.