The Paksense Ultra T3 powered by HarvestMark is a farm to fork traceability solution with integrated temperature monitoring and country of origin labeling (COOL) capabilities. Said to be an industry first, the solution allows the tracking and tracing of products through the supply chain, while simultaneously allowing the monitoring of the cold chain and compliance with COOL requirements.

Administered by the USDA, COOL requires retailers to provide their customers with country of origin information for covered commodities. These include certain beef, lamb, chicken, and pork products, as well as fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables.

With the Ultra T3 solution, developed by PakSense and YottaMark, traceability, cold chain, and country of origin data are securely uploaded and stored in a hosted database, accessible anywhere, anytime, via a password protected web portal.

PakSense is a leading developer of intelligent sensing products specifically designed for perishable goods. HarvestMark is the fresh food traceability solution from YottaMark, a provider of unit-level brand security and real-time channel intelligence solutions.

“Recent food safety recall incidents and increased government scrutiny illustrate the need for robust trace-back systems that can help contain the extent of a food safety incident and help protect brand reputation,” said PakSense CEO David Light. “By raising the bar and combining traceability capabilities with cold chain monitoring and COOL, we provide the industry with an easy-to-implement, single-source solution that helps solve three food safety issues with one product.”

The process

At the field or packaging facility, a uniquely-coded HarvestMark traceability tag is affixed to the individual commodity, product container, or case, explained PakSense business development manager Theresa Willerup. Each code denotes country of origin information, plus information such as harvest date, field of harvest, crew, processing/packing data, general bill of lading details, and any customer-specific data.

PakSense temperature monitoring labels are then applied at the pallet or container level. Flat, and about the size of a sugar packet, these pre-programmed temperature devices monitor and record the temperature and time of a perishable product's environment during distribution, storing all data in the label's memory.

PakSense labels are automatically linked to the HarvestMark case and/or item labels.

“At any point during distribution cycle, a special reader can be used to download temperature information,” Willerup said.

“Temperature data can be easily captured and uploaded to the HarvestMark data center as product moves through the supply chain. At the data center, this information is automatically associated with the appropriate HarvestMark traceability labels.”

All harvest, shipping, and temperature information for each item is then available to the end user.

Using either the serial number of the PakSense label or the HarvestMark code, a Ultra T3 user can query, via a secure web portal, tracing, country of origin, and cold chain integrity information.

“In the event of a food safety or temperature abuse incident, brand owners can use the serial numbers and codes to easily and effectively notify retailers if product is at risk of being compromised and have the suspect product isolated,” Light said. “In addition, the PakSense Ultra T3 enables retailers to identify which products have not been affected, reducing unnecessary losses in sales from customer confusion and uncertainty.”

Every Ultra T3 user gets their own customized webpage on the secure web portal. Key areas of information on each webpage, organized and presented in an easy-to-read way, include harvest/packing details, shipping information, food safety status, and environmental conditions, such as temperature status, average temperature, temperature deviations, and time out of temperature range.

Additional functionality features help pinpoint when, and for how long, temperature issues occurred. There is an expanded, graphed view of temperature conditions, and a temperature log in 5-minute increments.

The solution is fully compatible with the Produce Marketing Association's Guidelines on Traceability and meets GS1 requirements.

GS1 is a global organization with an integrated system of standards that provides identification of products and locations through the use of standards, barcodes, and electronic product code/radio frequency identification (EPC/RFID) tags.