Lately, I’ve noticed restaurants increasingly advertising that their ingredients come from Farm to Table, meaning they are sourced from local farmers – and in some cases grown by the restaurant owners themselves. Now, the Locavore movement is not new, but it has gained popularity over the last few years.
There are a number of benefits to locally sourcing ingredients. Some of the more common benefits include:
- They taste better (obviously, why bother if they didn’t right?).
- They do not need to be sprayed with chemicals to protect them for the long haul to the restaurant.
- In some cases, sourcing locally is better for the environment because less transportation reduces the carbon footprint.
There is one additional benefit sitting outside of the spotlight that you rarely hear about - quick and easy traceability. In the unfortunate event of a food borne illness outbreak the restaurant can easily trace and isolate where affected produce came from and stop an even wider outbreak from occurring.
But what if this was not a farm to table restaurant?
What if instead, produce was purchased from a food distributor and what if that distributor sourced its products from farms all over the world?
In addition, what if that distributor supplied ingredients to multiple restaurants and supermarkets all over the country?
How easy would it be to trace and isolate contaminated food products in this scenario?
Preventing food contamination and isolating a food borne illness outbreak is a job that I, and most others, take for granted. But when you consider the fact that we need food to survive, and the majority of us are relying on third parties to supply it, you begin to realize just how important enforcing food safety is.
Now, I am not a parent in the traditional sense, I do not have human children, but I do consider my beloved pit bull puppy, Bossy (named after famed NY Islander Mike Bossy), to be my child. Pet lovers around the world would agree; pets are family. Believe it or not but even pet food products are at risk to contamination. The threat of food borne illness becomes an even scarier thought when the safety of our loved ones is at stake.
Thankfully, innovations in technology have made food traceability much more manageable, and I am proud that in my position at Zebra Technologies I am able to play a role in bringing these innovations to market with products such as:
- The Symbol TC70 mobile computer (to capture barcode data and relay it to backend systems)
- Bar code printers and labels (to label food products with lot information) and
- Wireless infrastructure (to communicate between devices and backend systems)
Food safety and minimizing exposure to food borne illnesses is an important job, one that most of us never even think about; implementing the right solution can make all the difference, see why in this short video.
About the author: Amanda Honig is the Global Product Marketing Manager for Handheld Enterprise Mobile Computers at Zebra Technologies. Amanda works closely with Zebra’s product development and regional marketing teams to introduce new mobile computing solutions to customers across all industries.