Hurst International Provides Traceability With Patented Labeling System
LOS ANGELES, CA - I hate to say it, but it seems like the last few years have been rife with food recalls due to contamination and foodborne illnesses. Consumer confidence in food and retailers has dropped in conjunction with the recalls, especially after such extensive media coverage. Hurst International believes it has the solution with its patented Print on Demand (POD) Versaprint labeling system.
Traceability is the buzzword here, and Hurst International has demonstrated its commitment to providing retailers and consumers a reliable system for tracking produce from farm to retail. There are already methods in place to ensure this standard is met, as full traceability is currently required on the outside of a case of produce. The problem is, consumers don’t buy full cases of produce—they purchase it individually as a bulk item. Any further traceability is lost once the case is emptied at the retailer’s shelves and bins.
Hurst’s POD Versaprint labeling system adds additional levels of security by adding an additional traceability code on each price look up (PLU) label. The PLU label is added to all bulk produce items. This additional traceability code ensures that each produce item can be traced back to its origin. As an added bonus, the labeling system can also be used to to announce sales events or promotions, reaching the consumer when they purchase an item at the store level.
With this labeling system, the item-level traceability code tracks each piece of fruit or vegetable throughout the entire supply chain. The traceability codes include: lot numbers, grower codes, dates, julian dates, time stamps, packing house locations, packing lines, and production. When the origin of each produce item can be identified, the grower, shipper, or packer is able to determine where the fruit or vegetable was at at any date and track the process to see what it came into contact with.
How does this relate back to foodborne illnesses and produce recalls, you ask? This thorough labeling method allows the product to be traced quickly and effectively. Recalls can be extremely pricy and generally result in the destruction of product. With the POD Versaprint system, these sorts of financial losses can be kept to a minimum. The PLU label also includes information that can be added to a blockchain distributed ledger to be effectively traced back through the supply chain.
According to the press release, the POD system is extremely efficient and easy to use—making it the industry standard in produce labeling, with several key leaders in the apple, stonefruit, citrus, avocado, pear, kiwi, and pomegranate industry using it. The Direct Thermal Printing technology enables packers to label up to 63 different graphics at speeds of up to 15 fruits per second, with the highest effective application rate in the industry, as stated in the press release.
The application rates of over 95 percent reduce production costs, in turn, saving money on labeling. The flexible system can print a variation of changing numbers and grow codes on the label, leading some Hurst customers to use this feature for internal control and management. Not only can it be used to identify an event that occurred in the field when farming, but also to help identify any mechanical issues or inconsistencies in the packing house or supply chain.
Will this labeling system help reduce foodborne illness outbreaks? ANUK will keep you updated.