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US: Traceability solution for fresh produce

Zoom in font  Zoom out font Published: 2016-12-06  Views: 20
Core Tip: Traceability is on the radar of all produce companies. For some, it’s a challenge. For others, it’s a key differentiator.
Traceability is on the radar of all produce companies. For some, it’s a challenge. For others, it’s a key differentiator. “When it comes to traceability, the produce industry is unique and complex,” says Stuart Hunt with SG Systems. “There is much more regulation compared to other industries and no formulation control.” Hunt explains how traceability in the bakery industry for instance is less complicated. “To bake bread, you need 13 ingredients and you exactly know how much goes in for consistency. Within the produce industry, a product comes in, gets re-packaged, labeled and shipped. Essentially, the same product goes out all within a rapid time frame.”

“We became familiar with the fresh produce industry about six years ago when Freshpoint (owned by Sysco) approached us to design a system to get their traceability in line,” shared Hunt. “In 2010, we piloted the system in Dallas and over the years, we rolled it out to all Freshpoint’s tomato re-pack locations in the US and Canada. After that, we were approached by several mushroom companies in Pennsylvania who asked us to do the same.”

Each produce variety is unique
“Over the years, we have unintentionally become experts in different produce categories,” admitted Hunt. Each variety is unique. The only similarity is that they are all edibles. Mushrooms shrink and lose weight. Tomatoes on the other hand change color. “We’ve taken time to understand what makes the produce industry special and based on that knowledge, we have developed solutions.”

SG Systems offers more than a traceability solution. “In case of a recall, our software shows where the produce was packed and which distribution facilities received it.” In addition, the company offers quality control solutions and enables its clients to calculate productivity. Even payroll is part of the options. SG Systems manufactures its own hardware including scales, label printers and bar code readers. “We offer the total bundle of software and hardware and provide support after installation. That makes us unique in the industry,” concluded Hunt.

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