RUTHVEN, Ontario — Clifford Produce, a growers cooperative here, has cited marked improvement in its operations and quality control in a pilot of new RFID readers and tags from Intelleflex, Santa Clara, Calif.
The technology enables wireless, on-demand, product-level monitoring by providing the ability to read at distances up to 100 meters or through RF-challenging environments that include metals, liquids and inside packages and containers.
By providing in-transit visibility of cold-chain product temperature data at the package level, the technology allows produce growers, shippers, distributors and retailers to monitor product freshness and quality, on-demand, on fully loaded pallets or totes, thereby identifying which products need expedited delivery in a first-expiring-first-out scenario and avoiding product waste, said Intelleflex. The RFID products are based on the ISO/IEC 18000-6 and EPCglobal C1G2 RFID multi-protocol standards and are designed for temperature monitoring, asset tracking and other applications.
Clifford uses RFID readers inside its distribution center to monitor the temperature of incoming shipments.
“This new technology gives us the capability to have real-time inventory visibility within our facility, on-demand, combining that information with overall traceability and quality management,” said Mike Glass, sales manager, Clifford Produce Sales, in a statement. “Our plans are to continue working with Intelleflex to empower us to manage our inventory on a first-expiring-first-out, vs. first-in-first-out basis. We will continue to integrate cutting-edge and cost-effective technology in our facilities and throughout the supply chain, which will enhance food safety and food quality, reduce shrink, and improve operational efficiencies and grower profits.”
The technology is also being tested by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture, Honolulu.
“In-pallet monitoring of produce temperatures — all the way from the warehouse to the retailer — will enable us to ensure a high-quality product for consumers,” said John Ryan, quality assurance administrator, Hawaii Department of Agriculture, in a statement. The system also “gives us the confidence that fresh produce is properly stored throughout the delivery chain, while ensuring food safety accountability at every step in the process.”