The Food Safety Modernization Act is changing they way growers view food safety.
Improvements are being made to packing lines and sanitation. Wood bins are being recycled and plastic alternatives are being purchased. RFID tags are becoming the “next big thing.” And traceability is key.
We sat down with Ralph Harris, president and CEO at Decade Products, to talk more about the company’s turnkey solutions to meet the changing demands.
Fruit Growers News: Why are growers transitioning from wood bins to plastic bins?
Ralph Harris: We are seeing a growing trend away from wood, as growers place increased importance on food safety and hygiene. Just as important is the significant increase in pack-out comparing smooth plastic bins to rough wooden crates.
FGN: What makes your bins unique?
RH: The Decade MACX line of bins is designed with the needs of the grower/processor in mind. The bins are lightweight yet incredibly strong, are fully vented to allow fast, efficient hydro-cooling, are made of food-grade materials, customizable to specific needs and are RFID-enabled.
FGN: Tell me a little bit more about your RFID tags.
RH: Decade’s unique weatherproof RFID tags are integrated into our bins and can eliminate stapled barcode labels while enabling the user to automatically track and record every movement. This line of control allows the user to manage inventory and track assets – both the products and the bin itself.
Most importantly, our RFID tags provide critical information on the product, such as date of harvest, contents, location and a complete timeline of the processes conducted on that bin. Critical questions like, “Was the produce washed? When was it washed? Was the bin sanitized? When was it sanitized? Were lab tests conducted on the products?” can be answered.
All these factors help our customers comply with increasing food safety legislation and liabilities. Decade supplies a full suite of hardware (readers, scanners, etc.), as well as the software needed to integrate RFID into our customers’ systems.
FGN: At Decade, you emphasize bin customization. Why?
RH: We pride ourselves on being a customer-focused organization, and realize that each is unique in their need for material handling. Therefore, we strive to provide individual solutions: color-coded bins for easy visual identification, name embossing, drain plugs, customized size configurations and more.
FGN: In the end, it’s all about making food safety worry-free for your customers. Why is that so important to the people at Decade Products?
RH: Our team is committed to the principle of sustainability. To being part of the nation’s incredible food chain while contributing to our well-being through providing bins that enable our customers to continue to prosper and refine the supply of healthy, safe and nourishing foods for all of us.