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Food Identity Preservation and Traceability

September 24, 2013

In my previous blog we discussed how to break a commodity price cycle and get premiums for produced locally required crops with requested properties. This is directly connected to a value chain and Food Identity Preservation and Traceability (IPT). Many managers consider IPT systems as a central component of value-chains.

So, what is Food Identity Preservation and Traceability and why it is important?

According to Wikipedia:

Identity preservation is the practice of tracking the details of agricultural shipments so that the specific characteristics of each shipment are known. Identity preserved (IP) is the designation given to such bulk commodities marketed in a manner that isolates and preserves the identity of a shipment, presumably because of unique characteristics that have value otherwise lost through comingling during normal storage, handling and shipping procedures. The concept of IP has been accorded greater importance with the introduction of genetically modified (GM) organisms into agriculture. Although the U.S. scientific community maintains that GM crops are safe, critics want them segregated from non-GM commodities out of concerns about their potential environmental and food safety implications.

Greg Bennet, in his book A Practical Roadmap to IPT Integration, said: “From baby formula and peanut butter, to E. coli-tainted peppers and salmonella-tainted pistachios, no food product or means of its production is immune to risks. And while these risks may never be fully eliminated, identity preservation and traceability (IPT) systems make it easier to determine the source and extent of contamination, thereby reducing the often deadly consequences”.

At IdeAg (http://www.ideaggroup.com/) events we are continuously discussing how precision ag technologies can help to get all necessary data like technology of crop growing, time, location, soil properties, rates, etc. to figure out how to achieve the desired results.

Implementing my proposal for comprehensive crop production management systems will enhance existing IPT. In this case IPT will be considerably deeper. It will tell the story of how this particular crop was grown and what components, in what portions (rates), when and where (soils and location) were used for it.

Documenting crop production process is an important part of IPT systems. I understand that this is double-edged sword.

From one side it will help farmers to be found by food manufacturing value-chains. From other side the usage of particular seeds or chemicals can bar them from selling their crop. But consumers are demanding IPT more and more. There is a huge lobby trying to make it a standard.

So, I recommend keeping a record of your crop production practices. It has another derivative benefit – it can significantly simplify obtaining certification for organic crop production.

Posted by Andrey Skotnikov at 9:21pm

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