Food Quality and Safety Concerns Lead to Innovations in Agricultural Product Marketing and Supply Chain Management
BRIGHTON, Mich. and RICHARDSON, Texas, Oct. 15 - Lowry Computer Products, a leading manufacturer and single-source integrator of RFID, wireless, bar code and data collection solutions, today announced that it will design and implement a passive RFID-based food traceability solution for the State of Hawaii Department of Agriculture. Lowry will integrate GlobeRanger's iMotion(TM) sensor-based edgeware platform and Motorola hardware into its total "farm to fork" fresh harvest solution for Hawaii.
The goal is to enhance Hawaii's Seal of Quality and fresh produce marketing efforts through a statewide pilot project that will track the route of produce moving from the grower to the distribution center and on to the retail store and consumer. The pilot system will provide an audit trail and identifiable standards of excellence in food safety, quality, branding and intellectual property that will improve the marketability of Hawaii agricultural products and help protect the welfare of consumers, according to John Ryan, administrator for the Quality Assurance Division of Hawaii's Department of Agriculture.
"It is time for agriculture to move into the 21st century and start using tools and technologies that really help us achieve higher quality and food safety standards, well beyond what government inspections and audits are capable of," said Ryan. "Our RFID-based traceability pilot is a giant leap in the right direction." In addition to increasing consumer confidence, the pilot will assure that Hawaii's farmers are supported through supply chain efficiency, accountability and security - a key competitive marketing strategy.
Funded by the Economic Development Alliance of Hawaii and U.S. Agriculture Department grants, the pilot involves participation by growers, distributors and retailers such as Sugarland Farms, Armstrong Produce and Foodland Supermarkets, among others. Lettuce, strawberries and tomatoes will be included in the pilot, with plans to expand the program to include all 5,000 farms statewide within three years with participant funding. "For the most part, farmers are doing this on their own dime, but we think RFID tags will eventually go down in price to less than a cent, and when that happens, it will be much less expensive to adopt," said Ryan. In the pilot, each box and pallet of produce will be pre-tagged in the field with a waterproof RFID label. RFID read points will be strategically situated at various zones at each facility. Using a combination of Motorola handheld RFID readers in the field and RFID portals and fixed readers across the supply chain, the tag IDs, logical location, date and time, and site will be captured at these read points with data automatically uploaded into a tracking server and database.
GlobeRanger's innovative iMotion(TM) edgeware platform will support device and business applications residing on the server. A dashboard-based decision support system will display real-time produce movement as well as recent or historical data. This will enable growers to monitor the complete "harvest to market" process. An online public database will include the product ID numbers for boxes and pallets, enabling all produce entered into the system to be traced back to its farm of origin. State officials have set a goal to be able to remove at-risk produce from the supply chain in under an hour.
"We are excited to lead Hawaii's efforts to use RFID technology to attain higher food quality and safety standards," said Jeff Tazelaar, RFID product manager at Lowry. "This is a significant and positive development for agriculture, as well as for homeland security and the RFID industry. We expect this pilot to be another successful milestone deployment for Lowry and GlobeRanger that demonstrates the real business and safety benefits of implementing RFID technology across the fresh food supply chain."
"Last year's high profile problems with spinach and e-coli raised the question of whether RFID should be implemented as an additional safety net for consumers," said Susan King, Area Vice President at GlobeRanger. "I see this deployment as an industry milestone in protecting the welfare of the consumers, while increasing the marketability and confidence in the agricultural products of Hawaii."
About Lowry Computer Products
Lowry Computer Products is a synergistic organization and single-source provider of leading edge technology, RFID edge- and middleware software, expert professional services, and innovative RFID, wireless, bar code, and data collection solutions. Lowry's end-to-end solutions for fresh harvest traceability, supply chain visibility, asset management, work-in-progress, and RFID mandate compliance deliver real ROI for its customers. Lowry also manufactures fully converted, tested, and ready-to-use Smart Trac(TM) labels with Gen 2 inlays as well as automated labeling systems for supply chain, packaging, and RFID applications. Through its 15 U.S. sales offices, 25 service centers, and a nationwide network of over 200 service partners, Lowry provides certified technical support and trusted customer service throughout North America. To find out more about Lowry's products and services, visit http://www.lowrycomputer.com/.
GlobeRanger is the leading provider of RFID, mobility and sensor-based edge software solutions. Its innovative Edgeware(TM) platform, iMotion(TM), provides the critical infrastructure layer for managing devices, networks, data and processes at the edge of the enterprise, enabling real-time response. iMotion serves as the foundation for GlobeRanger and its partners to rapidly develop, deploy and manage edge solutions. Founded in 1999, GlobeRanger is headquartered in Richardson, Texas. For more information, visit www.globeranger.com/.
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Michael Becker of GlobeRanger Inc., +1-469-330-5526, firstname.lastname@example.org, or
Bill Murray of Strategic Communications, +1-240-485-1089, email@example.com
Web site: www.globeranger.com/