Location is no substitute for food safety data

An after-effect of outbreaks of foodborne illness is the geographic segmentation of counties and countries such as, ‘my spinach doesn’t come from California so it’s safe,’ or my melons aren’t from Colorado so they’re safe.

This is a logical consumer rationalization in the absence of actual information; it’s not like people can buy food on the basis of microbiological safety.

Meatingplace.com reports that Ohio retailer Heinen’s Fine Foods has become the first retailer in the country to use third-party verification for sourcing and labeling meats. The chain partnered with Integrated Management Information, Inc. (IMI Global) to launch the WhereFoodComesFrom labeling program, designed to give customers more information about the source and origin of Heinen’s Own beef and pork products.

“The program helps us to provide our customers information about the source of our beef and pork products and lets consumers learn firsthand about where, how and by whom their food was raised,” Tom Heinen said in a press release.

The program incorporates a quick response (QR) bar code that allows consumers using a smart phone to scan the product and quickly access detailed information about the product’s origins.
“We’ve been offering verification services to farmers and ranchers for food marketing claims for 15 years and WhereFoodComesFrom is our effort to connect that program with the consumers who are looking for information about the food they buy,” said Leann Saunders, president of IMI Global.

I don’t care where food comes from, whether it’s around the corner or around the globe: I care that it is microbiologically safe.