Traceability - AMCO Produce

Ingrid Clark, Narrator

AMCO produce in Leamington, Ontario takes great pride in the safety of their product. With their traceability system they are prepared for a recall, and have seen the value it builds with their customer's trust in their brand.
Steve Miner, VP Operations - AMCO Produce
Our traceability system begins with the harvesting. Once it's harvested from the greenhouse, it goes into a packing shed. The packing shed will do their pack-out. Placing the products into cartons. Each carton will go through a printer, a print and apply system that will apply a barcode. And that barcode has information on it relative to our business, the carton style, the product that we're packing, as well as the batch and lot code which is very important. On top of that, the products all go through a PLU labeller. And each individual PLU has a company prefix on it so that should that product get to a residence or home out of the carton, we still have the ability to trace back that individual piece of fruit or vegetable to AMCO and we can begin a recall - should we have to.
From the greenhouse, or pack house, it comes up to our main warehouse into our cooler facility. We want to try and cool our products as quickly as possible. Extends the life of the product. And at that time, the product is received on a pallet. And each pallet receives an individual pallet tag with a unique pallet number. That, then, is entered into our Famous system so we have an archive electronically of the pallet. Once the pallet is sold and shipped, the barcode is scanned out and the information is archived to that custom order.
We're doing our core items now. We need to take the next step and do all of the repacked components for traceability.
Traceability means everything to us. Because, if we have a food recall, and thank God we haven't had one, it would be very costly if we didn't have the ability to trace back our products to the root area that they were harvested from.
It's critical. It establishes consumer confidence in our brand. Consumers want to know the food they get is safe for them to eat. And when it's not safe they want to make sure that we can get it off the shelves as quickly as possible.
As we've evolved with traceability, it's become easier for us to do that. Through technological advancements, barcoding, storage of data. It went from a paper system to an electronic system which has made it significantly easier for us to do that in the event of a food recall.
Ingrid Clark
AMCO has advice to other businesses looking to invest in traceability.
Steve Miner
1: traceability is necessary. If they're wavering on whether or not to invest in a traceability system, I would say yes, that's an easy, easy answer. 2: It's going to make life easier for them moving forward.
At the end of the day it's the right thing to do.
Ingrid Clark
To learn more about how Ontario businesses are using traceability to their advantage, visit ontario.ca/traceability.

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