As the Associated Press article, E. coli outbreak sickens 19 people in 3 states points out, local authorities had been investigating the outbreak for several weeks. In addition to the life threatening illnesses and costly investigations that could have be avoided, imagine how much faster the contaminated produce could have been identified and removed from the retail supply chain by using data generated by RFID and sensors.
There are plenty of examples of passive RFID being used to drive efficiencies into the produce supply chain. There is now an incredible opportunity, if not a responsibility, for growers, distributors and retailers to expand their use of technology, not just to enhance efficiencies, but to create value for their customers in ways that promote health and safety.
One such innovation was recently presented to an audience at RFID Journal LIVE! 2010 and covered by RFID Journal in an article RFID Tracks Leafy Greens in Arizona. As detailed, researchers at the University of Arizona's School of Plant Sciences are developing a system that uses RFID and GPS to allow farmers and retailers to trace lettuce through the supply chain while offering farmers a better view into the productivity of their fields.
Similarly, ThingMagic is working with several partners in agriculture related markets, focused on developing and implementing solutions that can improve the quality and safety of goods moving through supply and cold chains.