Traceability rule represents major adjustment for food industry (by Lyndsey Layton – The Washington Post)
EXCERPT: Spurred by a new federal food safety law and growing consumer interest, vast amounts of new data are being generated about the complicated path that food takes from field to supermarket shelf. And, increasingly, some of that information is being offered to curious shoppers, who in some stores can wave a smartphone above an apple or orange and learn instantly where it was grown, who grew it and if it has been recalled. They can even contact the farmer, if they feel moved.
A provision of the new federal food safety law passed last year by Congress 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. They’ll have to maintain that information in digital form, creating deep wells of information that, in some cases, consumers could tap into through their computers or cell phones…
The new requirement represents a major adjustment for some parts of the nation’s food system, as the government imposes standards and electronic record-keeping on an industry where small players still rely on handshakes and paper invoices.