The food safety law, passed last year, requires that all players in the country’s food supply chain be able to quickly trace from whom they received a food product and to whom they sent it. Under the new law, FDA must launch pilot projects by this September, then report results to Congress and issue more specific rules by 2013.
David Acheson, former assistant commissioner for food protection at FDA, says, – the process will still involve FDA going to the grocery store, finding out who they received the productt in question from and they’ve got to go to their suppliers, sometimes multiple suppliers, and do the same thing. Acheson predicts the process will be – more efficient, but it won’t achieve the desired speed. In some cases, companies are not waiting on federal requirements to be developed. They are making a portion of the traceability information available to consumers now. HarvestMark, based in California, has developed a two-dimensional bar code sticker that can be placed on individual fruits and vegetables or packaging. Shoppers can scan the sticker with a smartphone or go to the HarvestMark website and enter the number from the sticker to learn the path the product has taken.