What is the cost of not serializing food?
Hallmark beef is billed $67 million by the US school lunch program for improperly processed beef and an additional $50 million bill is coming in 2008. When will food processors realize that serializing food can save them Billions in food recall exposure?
For almost a dozen years we’ve advocated that serializing food on an item level will save food processors Billions of dollars in recall expenses.
The cost of serializing on the item level with barcode and possibly RFID on the carton level will help food processors target recalls to specific units of measure rather across the board.
Basically, tracking your production on the item level serialization provides companies the ability to target specific lots and pull them off the shelf.
Also, in cooperation with the major retailers, adding the facility to read a serial number barcode at the POS, will keep consumers from purchasing a recalled product.
How does it work ?
Simple. Once a recall is announced the retailer flags the UPC at the retail POS to have the serial number barcode scanned. When the serial number barcode is scanned, the retailer POS validates whether the item is at risk or it’s acceptable to purchase.
Wal-Mart is already doing it with electronics, prompting the POS clerk to scan the serial number barcode.
We met with Dole twice in 2006 to propose serializing their bagged lettuce production.
Needless to say if you go to the grocery store, the Dole bagged lettuce is not serialized April 2008. But look at how much the industry lost in bagged lettuce and spinach sales as a result of recalls. Hundreds of millions of dollars.
Recent cantaloupe recalls will cost retailers and Honduras and El Salvador 10′s of millions of dollars.
Hallmark Beef is basically out of business. Yes, they will operate again under a different name. Yes, they will probably have another CEO that basically never leaves his office. But will they begin by serializing their beef production?
I would like to challenge the USDA. . . Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer – Require suppliers of food to school programs to serialize their deliveries to the school programs!
If the Secretary of Defense can do it, why not the USDA ?