There is a huge amount of information available regarding rainfall and temperature that impact product quality and shelf life. By knowing the origin location this climate information could be used, together with the specific product type and the harvest date, to further improve estimates of both the quality and shelf life of the product.
There is nothing in the new U.S. FDA Food Safety Modernization Act that requires or even encourages either standardization or data sharing. However, without both the effort to enable traceability will be a pure cost. It is time for all participants in the food supply chain to recognize that consumers, retailers, and governments are going to increasingly demand more information regarding the food chain.
All food chain participants should proactively analyze what information can add value and what standardization can reduce cost and then collaborate to lead this information revolution. d
Ratcliff is executive director, Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistics Institute Integrated Food Chain (IFC) Center, Atlanta.