Richard Ha writes:
My daughter Tracy and I went to the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) trade show recently. Tracy is in charge of the farm’s Food Safety and Marketing program.
There were 21,000 people at this event, in Anaheim for the trade show from 60 countries.
It’s a great place to meet people and keep up with new trends in the produce business.
Are you familiar with the new FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)? It’s the most sweeping reform of our food safety laws in more than 70 years, and was signed into law by President Obama on January 4, 2011. It aims to ensure that our U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus from responding to contamination to, instead, preventing it.
We have always taken food safety very seriously. We scored the highest Food Safety inspection scores ever this year – 100 percent for banana and tomato field operations, and 98 percent for our banana and tomato packing operations. But still, we are always looking for ways to learn more and improve. So PMA 2012 was timely.
Tracy commented on how fast technology is moving. QR (Quick Reader) codes are something with great marketing potential. They can hold thousands of times more data than traditional barcodes. Any customer with a cell phone camera and a QR app can instantly visit your website, hear an audio or see videos. Download a QR code app and you can get right down to the farm level. We are intrigued by the possibilities.
At PMA we saw there is a marketing push toward children, in order to get them eating more healthfully. There were hundreds of different combinations of products and packaging that were kid-oriented.
We came away with all kinds of ideas. It’s very exciting.
And a short video of the action: