Is Consumer Trust a Factor of Traceability

Is Consumer Trust a Factor of Traceability

This is the title of an article in Food Safety News where Dan Flynn the author states;

So while food companies might benefit from traceability and government may eventually demand it, food chain traceability is in large part about building relationships with consumers and giving them what they really want – the ability to trust that they know what they are eating.

In the article Flynn goes on to say;

FDA has commissioned the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) to do much of the traceability work called for in the FSMA.

IFT produced a 300-page document for comment in March, 2013 that suggests FDA needs a technology platform that would allow “efficient aggregation and analysis” of data submitted to FDA upon request.

Foods selected for the pilot project had been associated with outbreaks between 2005 and 2010. Key findings from IFT’s analysis of current product tracing practices indicate the following challenges associated with outbreak investigations:

  1. It can be tedious and difficult to sort through hundreds of pages of documents
  2. Confusion can arise when data definition is lacking
  3. Products often carry inconsistent item descriptions
  4. Wrong or incomplete information causes delays
  5. Companies operating under multiple names are difficult to identify as sources

These Five key findings are all to familiar to us in our industry discussions. They are issues that could have come from our product development meetings. These are solutions we provide. You may not feel that this is a fair comparison to the tree fruit industry, we have not had the outbreaks or problems that others have had. However, are we just waiting? Or, are we waiting for others to decide for us, what we will do?

Discussion Point:

Does the ability to develop consumer trust require traceability?

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Comments
  • Mike Naylor June 7, 2014 at 6:37 am

    We have been using stickers with bar codes that trace our stone fruit back to us for several years now. Consumers can contact us directly to ask questions about our fruit or farming practices. I agree traceability is an excellent way to build relationships with consumers. Prior to using the stickers, we rarely had contact with our customers. If increased consumer relations helps develop consumer trust, then, the answer is, “Yes.”

  • Joe Dager June 7, 2014 at 8:07 am

    Thanks for the comment Mike. I am interested that you find that communication comes from the stickers on your fruit? Does the communication come from your website or in other ways?

    P.S. I thought I was the only one that looked at stickers. 😉

    • Mike Naylor June 17, 2014 at 7:54 am

      The barcode can be scanned by smartphones or ipads and takes them to our website that has our contact information. We have received phone calls, emails and even hand-written letters from customers. Previously people would look us up from our name and city on our boxes.

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