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ABC Affiliate Highlights RFID's Role in Keeping Food Safe

A recent broadcast showcases a temperature-sensitive tag from Intelleflex.
Posted By Mark Roberti, 03.10.2011
Someone sent me a link to a story with the e-mail subject line, "Have you seen this?" Oh, no, I thought, another negative report on radio frequency identification transponders in credit cards.

But to my delight, I clicked on the link, and instead saw this: "Wireless technology helping keep food safe."

The piece, produced by KGO-TV, an ABC affiliate television station in San Francisco, calls the temperature-sensitive RFID transponders "green tags," but so what? (Toward the end, he calls them RFID.) The reporter says, "by most accounts, one-third of all fruits and vegetables are discarded somewhere between the field and the customer because it is hard to monitor the shelf life of produce. A temperature variation of just 2 degrees during shipment can cut four days off the life of berries and bananas."

Current technology, he notes, only monitors the temperature of an entire truck, regardless of any variations within its refrigerated compartment. That's only part of the problem, however. Most businesses don't use temperature loggers on pallets, so they don't know if a pallet was left on the dock in the hot sun all day—and even if they do use such devices, that data is useless if no one checks them.

RFID automates the collection of temperature data, as Peter Mehring, Intelleflex's CEO, points out in this piece. What's more, the reporter says, "With a wireless solution, everything can be monitored in transit." The technology can help reduce spoilage, by providing retailers with insights into which produce should be put out first, and can also help warn when a pallet is experiencing temperatures outside an acceptable range, so that action can be taken to correct the problem.

There's been a lot of concern about food safety in the United States and elsewhere over the past few years. With so much negativity rampant in the media, it's nice to see a mainstream news organization highlighting the role RFID can play to help improve food safety.

Mark Roberti is the founder and editor of RFID Journal. If you would like to comment on this article, click on the link below. To read more of Mark's opinions, visit the RFID Journal Blog, the Editor's Note archive or RFID Connect.

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