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Do You Know Where Your Tomatoes Come From?

Armen Hareyan's picture

Tomato recalls impact grocers, wholesalers, produce buyers, local farmers, roadside stands, restaurants and consumers because the only working item-level traceback system ScoringAg.com was not implemented from farm to retail and a traceback to tomato source can't be provided in seconds.

Since mid April, the FDA has linked a 17-state salmonella outbreak to red plum, red Roma and round red tomatoes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that since mid-April, 167 people have been affected by salmonellosis, and 23 hospitalizations have occurred. In early July 2004, as many as 564 confirmed cases of salmonellosis associated with consumption of contaminated tomatoes were reported in five states. In 2006 two outbreaks of salmonella-tainted tomatoes where reported by the FDA. One was blamed for nearly 100 illnesses in 19 states. FDA also traced tomatoes involved in another outbreak involving 183 people in 21 states.

Now 2 months later FDA tells their website which areas have not been associated with the outbreak. But how does the retailer, restaurant owner or consumer know from which area the tomato came from? Produce is imported from around the world and mixed with national grown until it ends up in the retail shelve.

In order to ensure that American consumers can continue to enjoy raw tomatoes that are safe to eat, FDA is working diligently with the states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Indian Health Service, and various food industry trade associations to quickly determine the source of the tomatoes associated with the outbreak.

This is traceback in months, not even in 48 hours as required by FDA.

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ScoringAg.com provides traceback records in seconds. Here is the proof: Go to scoringAg.com, click on Search SSI-EID or Traceback.com or www.ScoringRestaurants.com and type in these traceback sticker codes for tomatoes SSI_D6EE18D44C and/or SSI_2DB8DAECB9.

As fast as you type or in this case copy and paste as fast is ScoringAg traceback.

The country of Origin Labeling Law (COOL) requires from September 30, 2008 a verifiable audit trail from the retail store to the source and all food handlers along the way. The consumer has the right to know where the product comes from along with the grocer, with field to fork information. There is absolute no reason to have so many people sick every time when a problem has happened and with the grocers not knowing which product to pull from the shelves.

Basically, the COOL law requires a retailer to be able to have to prove a verifiable audited trail from the package or product coding back to a source. The designated item-level label or POS sign at or on the product bin is confirming US Origin product that is in fact has been raised, produced, and processed in the USA. This surely would have helped in this tomato fiasco.

"We can help by supplying the ScoringAg database recordkeeping system. Scoring Ag is built to automatically prove the Country of Origin and designed to show movement and ownership records from grower to retailer all in real time and store those records for the allowed time required for retailers," says ScoringAG.

Compliance is accomplished without a large investment in your hard earned cash or limited time as the COOL law starts September 30, 2008.

Ask for ScoringAg traceback code on every product you are going to buy as a retailer, restaurant owner or consumer to be safe for your customers, for you and your family.