Revitalizing Interest In Track-and-Trace Capabilities

Technology is paving the way for standardization within the food industry.



Del Campo Supreme Tracks From Field To Fork

Del Campo Supreme is the first Mexican shipper to use HarvestMark’s traceability solution, says Jim Cathey, general manager of the company’s Nogales, AZ, distribution center. The installation was completed recently and Cathey anticipates the solution’s instantaneous and granular traceability back to which farm grew the produce in which field.

The company produces about 10 million cases annually of greenhouse and field-grown Roman, grape, cluster and beefsteak tomatoes, and red, yellow and orange peppers.

Before implementing the system, Del Campo had an in-house system that traced at the case and pallet levels. “But we wanted to get to the next level in traceability,” Cathey says. He notes the salmonella problems last year when produce moved on to re-packers. “Once they start changing the pack styles and make consumer packs, they can hit a wall in traceability and the trail goes cold very quickly.”

At the field level, the HarvestMark code is scanned on boxes of clamshell grape tomatoes; then 12 clamshells are packed to a case, which is scanned again.

The data is collected in the company’s ERP system and shows which field the tomatoes were harvested from and who packed them. Cases are put on pallets and pallet tags are scanned.

“When the truckload of produce arrives here in our distribution facility, we scan the pallet tag again with handhelds and we have all the data collected while the produce was in transit to our facility,” explains Cathey. “Then when the produce leaves here, we scan it again.”

Through these processes at the ranch and at the DC, the collected data can tie products from individual clamshells to the case and the pallet it was shipped on enroute to the DC. “We have the time and date products were unloaded here, and the time and date it was unloaded onto a truck to be delivered and who it was shipped to so we can walk it all the way back through where it was packed in the field,” explains Cathey.

“All of these efforts mean true commitment to consumers,” continues Cathey. “It means we made the effort to promote food safety before it was legislated.” —A.T.

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