Post harvest traceability software for for fresh produce packing, processing, export/import, sales – for fruit, vegetable, seafood packers.
Better handling of FIFO, monitor expiry dates, and accurate fresh produce inventory control & labeling help to reduce waste in packing, processing and storage. Further waste reduction can be achieved with other handy farmsoft features like Quality Control that ensures ‘waste’ is actually waste, waste reports that automatically calculate waste from a batch based on inputs and outputs – allowing you to identify potential areas of shrinkage, incorrect categorization, or mishandling. Traceability is now an expected component of most modern supply chains for perishable foods traded internationally. The ability to trace back and trace forward information associated with production and postharvest handling activities with specified lines of products to provide evidence of good practice has become increasingly important. There are opportunities to add significant value to these traceability requirements by applying other uses to the information that has to be captured. In this article, we present an overview of the concept of traceability and we use three case studies to: 1. discuss the use of traceability information in conjunction with heat transfer models and monitoring of environmental conditions to predict potential market quality; 2. demonstrate how improved traceability can facilitate better exchange of supply chain information between parties and add value to information provided back to growers; 3. show how improved transparency in the coolchain can be achieved for container sea freights.
Traceability is a system in which fruits and vegetables can be traced from the field to the buyer by lot through unique codes. A lot code could be a number, number-letter combination, or some other designation that is unique to the lot. Each farm should have a traceability system in place that allows the grower to track the produce from the field (one step back) to the buyer (one step forward).
Who Should Have a Traceability System?
Every farm. Being able to identify and recall a defined lot of contaminated product not only protects consumer health, but also helps reduce your losses by not having to recall everything in the marketplace. In case of a foodborne illness outbreak or customer complaint, you will be able to identify what products you have in the marketplace, determine when they were sold, and recall them if necessary. A working traceability system is an asset to your farm because it can be used to settle customer complaints and questions about the product that was sold. If you direct market at farmers markets or other places where the buyers are anonymous, develop a system to track what you took to market (where it came from and when it was harvested) and document what was sold (crop, volume, date, and location). If you have an on-farm market, keep track of what you put out for sale and how much is sold each day. Other benefits of a traceability system include keeping track of inventory (e.g., first harvested, first out) and expected income from sales.
What is a Lot?
A lot is a distinct and limited portion of a crop. A lot could be defined as all of the same crop harvested from the same field on the same day. Some farms may find that this definition results in lots that are too big, so they may choose to divide the harvest further, thereby making several different lots. It is most important that you develop a lot system that makes sense to you and works for your farm. Operations with packing lines should use a clean break to differentiate between lots, otherwise the lots are not truly distinct. A clean break is a break in production where all food contact surfaces on the production line are cleaned and sanitized with a documented process (1). However lots are defined, each lot must be assigned a unique lot number. The lot number should be on each container in the lot and recorded on the invoice. The benefit of having the lot number on the container is that in the case of co-mingling with other lots, each container is identifiable. Potato tubers were harvested and sampled after 0, 30, 90, 150, 210, or 270 days of storage at 4 °C (95% relative humidity, darkness). A proteomic approach was performed based on fluorescence DIGE coupled with tandem MS. Fifty-two and 41 spots were up- or downregulated, respectively, and four spots exhibited a transient abundance. The differentially expressed proteins were mainly involved in starch catabolism, control of protein conformation, protein recycling, and stress response. Moreover, 14 breakdown products of patatin increased during aging, indicating enhanced patatin proteolysis. The postharvest development of potato tubers actually seems to induce an oxidative challenge that is efficiently taken up by the proteomic and metabolic responses of the tubers, as no significant accumulation of oxidative damage on polyunsaturated fatty acids or proteins was noticed, even when a decrease in sprouting vigor was observed. Some of the results of this study were, however, correlated with the sprouting phenotypes and could also be assessed as potential aging biomarkers (Delaplace et al., 2009).
Lot Code Specifics
A lot code is a unique identifier of a designated lot. The code (which can include numbers and letters) should incorporate the date. Many growers find using the Julian date useful when developing lot numbers. From the lot number, you should be able to identify the following information about the lot:
Traceability is an expected attribute of the modern postharvest system. Traceability is a well coordinated and well documented movement of product and documented activities associated with the product, from producer, through a chain of intermediaries, to the final consumer. When this book was first published, the emphasis was on how the components of the postharvest system interacted and in turn, the impacts of these interactions on other parts of the system. It is a sign of how well systems and supply chain thinking has embedded within this sector of the international economy that it is now important to include a discussion on an activity that helps to integrate and bind a supply system from end-to-end, the activity of traceability. The postharvest system can be split into three parts, in terms of traceability. At the packinghouse, product is placed into packaging and onto pallets. From this stage in the process product is well identified and can generally be traced through the logistics chain. Through this part of the system it is possible to achieve complete traceability, provided adequate recording of activities and product movement is carried out. Once the pallets and packs are broken down, traceability becomes less accurate as product is mixed and the systems used tend to be less robust. This is also the case from the orchard until the point at which the product is packed. So, the system is characterized by a central component of high traceability sandwiched between two components of low traceability. While it is common in discussions of traceability to assume absolute traceability, in fact in the context of the entire postharvest system, traceability will never be absolute. Another trait of high agronomic interest is the tuber susceptibility to bruising upon mechanical impact involving an enzymatic browning reaction. A proteomic comparison of 20 potato varieties revealed that seven genes or gene families both were differentially expressed at the protein level between groups and had DNA polymorphisms associated with the investigated traits. A novel factor contributing to the natural variation in bruising, a putative class III lipase, was identified. Additionally, tuber proteome changes triggered by mechanical impact, within and between groups, were monitored over time, showing time-dependent protein variation. Differentially expressed proteins were lipases, patatins, and annexins (Urbany et al., 2012). Wounding can occur during handling and transportation of potato tubers. The ability to rapidly produce a wound periderm, upon damage, is vital for the maintenance of tuber quality (Stark et al., 1994). A proteomic experiment on dormant potato tubers, cv. Asterix, 3 months from harvesting revealed that slicing triggered differentiation processes that led to changes in metabolism, activation of defense, and cell-wall reinforcement. Proteins related to storage, cell growth and division, cell structure, signal transduction, energy production, disease/defense mechanisms, and secondary metabolism were detected. There was a succession of proteomic events leading to wound-periderm reconstruction, suggesting that the processes of wound-periderm formation are extended in time. The slice metabolism in the later stages tended to acquire similarities to the native periderm. Numerous patatins and protease inhibitors were found to form a group of proteins in the slices, possibly involving the vacuole, the main reserve of proteins in the cell, in the healing process. Various classes of protease inhibitors were detected with distinct expression patterns along the sampling dates, suggesting their possible complex and marked roles during the wound-healing process (Chaves et al., 2009).
Packing crew (if different than harvest crew)
Growers can use existing farm and planting maps to establish field numbers to reference in harvest logs that track harvest and packing dates. If the farm only has a few employees, the employees can be grouped together as one harvest crew responsible for picking and packing all produce on the farm. All of this information should be linked to the lot number. Please see Sample SOP: Traceability for an example of how to develop a lot code. The postharvest system should be thought of as encompassing the delivery of a crop from the time and place of harvest to the time and place of consumption, with minimum loss, maximum efficiency, and maximum return for all involved (Spurgeon, 1976). In potato, losses due to physical wounding, such as cuts and bruises, can be as high as 40%, with damage to tuber quality such as increased moisture loss and the apparition of easy entry points for postharvest rots (Jobling, 2000). Another problem is the physiological aging of the potato tuber during storage that can further affect its quality by means of loss of mass due to respiration and growth of sprout tissue, decreased turgor, and increased sugar concentrations (Burton et al., 1992; Davies, 1990; van Es and Hartmans, 1987). Improper storage at low temperatures, even if it reduces the sprouting and prolongs the dormancy, leads to low-temperature sweetening (Burton et al., 1992).
Several factors have led to intensified public scrutiny of the human food supply chain. Consumer concerns for food safety, animal welfare, and the environmental and ecological impact of food production and agro-processing have become increasingly important. These concerns have been exacerbated by several factors, including the trend towards further globalization of the food supply chain, the incidence of new and emerging safety hazards such as the human form of BSE (mad cow disease), and illnesses and deaths resulting from contamination of fresh and processed food. As a consequence of these growing concerns, consumers and other stakeholders in agroindustry now demand transparency in the way food is grown and handled throughout the supply chain, resulting in the emergence of ‘traceability’ as an important policy issue in food quality and safety. This paper provides a global overview of ‘traceability’ as a quality index in food trade, and discusses some of the drivers in both developed and developing countries. Policy changes are necessary specifically to incorporate traceability into existing food safety regulations and trade agreements. This will require further investments in information technology for data capture, storage and retrieval. Small-scale farmers in many developing regions moving towards market orientation face considerable technical and financial challenges in implementing appropriate food traceability systems in order to meet marketing compliance requirements.
Most farms are not required to label each piece of produce under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, but each farm should consider labeling each container that leaves the farm. This makes traceability of lots more efficient and effective.
Even growers who qualify for an exemption from the FSMA Produce Safety Rule “must prominently and conspicuously display, at the point of purchase, the name and complete business address of the farm where the produce was grown, on a label, poster, sign, placard, or documents delivered contemporaneously with the produce in the normal course of business, or, in the case of Internet sales, in an electronic notice” (2). This means that growers who sell at farmers markets or have a CSA could meet this labeling requirement by making a sign with their farm name and address to hang at their booth or pick up site.
Traceability System Options
Traceability options range from paper systems to electronic ones; choose the system that works best for you. Growers can use simple systems like grocery store labeling guns for marking all the containers of a particular lot. Markers and self-adhesive mailing labels can also be used. Electronic traceability systems can be purchased, but are not required. Electronic systems often use barcode technology with GTIN numbers. As the need for traceability grows, commercial options may increase and become more affordable, making them a reasonable option for small farms.
Testing the Traceability System
Every traceability system should be tested to make sure it is effective. One way to do this is to contact a buyer and ask about a particular lot code(s). The buyer should be asked how much of the lot(s) remains in their possession and how much has been sold. It is important to tell the buyer you are testing your traceability system. Document the buyer’s response to your request about the selected lot code(s) and match it with your farm information. If produce is sold through direct markets, the traceability test may include devising a way to contact a set of customers, such as through e-mail lists or by posting signs at the direct market stand. Collection of information could be done through emails, phone calls, or the postal service.
Post harvest traceability software
Improve dispatch accuracy
Let farmsoft improve the accuracy of your dispatch processes by managing orders, allowing assignment of inventory to orders and invoices from phone or tablet (directly from the forklift) or by PC/Mac. Documentation required for each specific customer can be automatically generated based on each customers requirements. Ensuring correct documents accompany every shipment reduces the possibility of a shipment rejection.
Consistent quality control
Quality officers are guided through the quality control process, presented with images and instructions for each test, ensuring they know what to look for at all times, corrective actions are presented if a quality issue is detected. This makes training new quality control offers fast, and ensures consistency in the quality control management processes for incoming fresh produce, post pack/post processing, storage, and dispatch.
Make administration easy
The never ending list of documents, paperwork, and records you have to keep can be overwhelming. Allow farmsoft to take care of your documentation for you. With farmsofts built in choice of industry document generation tools, and handy practical reporting that means your will never have to crunch numbers in a spreadsheet again- farmsoft reduces time spent on admin for administrative and management team members.
Post harvest traceability software for fruit packing & marketing software to improve profit, efficiency, reduce waste, and strengthen traceability and food safety. Farmsoft post harvest traceability software provides a flexible solution for packhouse processors of fruit, vegetable, coffee, flower, and hop processing, sorting, grading and post harvest packing management for fruit wholesalers, exporters, importers and cold store enterprises.
FRUIT PACKING / POST HARVEST TRACEABILITY SOFTWARE BROCHURE PACKING / QC APP SAMPLE POST HARVEST TRACEABILITY REPORT TEMPLATES
Farmsoft fruit packing packhouse software & post harvest software solutions: Read a review of farmsoft post harvest traceability solutions here: Fruit Packing Software for fruit and vegetable processors and cold store. Post harvest traceability software available in USA, Canada, U.K., New Zealand, Australia, South Africa.
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