Naturipe Farms' Donna Lynn Browne Discusses Importance of Food Traceability
SALINAS, CA - Throughout its Reimagine Conversations sessions, United Fresh delivered a series of thought-provoking discussions. One such session, titled The Traceability Blame Game, explored how each point in the produce supply chain faces unique challenges to tracing produce. I turned to Donna Lynn Browne, Director of Food Safety and Social Responsibility, Naturipe Farms, to learn more.
“Everyone looks at the FDA’s new traceability regulation from their own business perspective, but we must work together to understand each other’s positions so we can make this work,” Donna Lynn began. “Additionally, we need to keep the buyer’s point of view in mind. We may ship out one or two item types from a grower, but the buyers have thousands of items to trace once it gets to their distribution centers. We think it’s a nightmare for us—but what about them?”
Donna Lynn noted that it is crucial that the entire industry understand challenges cannot be faced alone.
“No blame game here! Only understanding and solutions, please,” she emphasized. “It’s crucial for stakeholders to have input and understand all perspectives of this issue if we want any solutions to work. What may be great for a grower might not work for a retailer, or what seems to be excellent for the buyer could end up being a nightmare for a grower.”
Across the supply chain, Donna Lynn explained that all businesses need to share their perspective and input regarding traceability.
“Ultimately, we need to make sure that what the FDA is asking all of us to do will be workable AND give us the actual results we need and can use,” she commented.
For Naturipe Farms, the company’s own commitment to traceability can be seen in its investment in computer software that enhances its ability to trace products.
“We are also very active in many working groups, councils, and professional associations, ensuring that Naturipe is on top of the latest food safety regulations, including this latest traceability regulation. Being involved in these groups allows us to proactively provide the FDA with our expert input before a rule is final,” Donna Lynn remarked. “We are also working with the latest innovative technology options that could help with this new FDA traceability rule. We plan to implement them as soon as this final rule is issued.”
We’ll continue to keep you up to date on the latest in terms of food regulation, so please stay tuned.