Magazine Article | February 28, 2010

Feature Article: RFID Meets GPS

Source: Field Technologies Magazine

By Sarah Howland, Integrated Solutions magazine

With the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness Response Act of 2002, federal regulations were put in place for companies that manufacture, process, and distribute food to track origin and production information to ensure food safety. However, since 2006, there have been a number of national food recalls that have gained widespread media attention and put in question the effectiveness of the 2002 act. In 2008, the FDA recalled tomatoes based on salmonella contamination. According to the Florida Tomato Growers Exchange, as a result of the fear caused by this incident, $40M worth of crops went unpackaged or rejected. In 2009, the FDA recalled two years' worth of peanut products thought to be contaminated with salmonella after consumers in 46 states were affected, and even issued a criminal investigation. To address possible holes in the 2002 act, a Senate committee unanimously passed Senate Bill 510, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act in November of 2009 (the act has been passed at the committee level, but is awaiting a vote on the Senate floor). The Modernization Act is aimed specifically at traceability in produce and will evaluate methods for effectively tracking and tracing raw agricultural commodities, as well as develop standards for the type of information companies must collect and maintain to allow them to rapidly track fruits and vegetables in the event of a recall.

Used with permission from Integrated Solutions magazine.

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