Delicious Living Blog

Transparency: How important is it?

A look at new consumer transparency and traceability programs from Gaia Herbs, Silk, and other industry players...

 

As a mom of young kids, I’m ready to know more about the foods and supplements my family and I eat and take—where and how they were produced, that they’re safe and exactly as advertised. I’m not alone: Contaminated eggs are just the latest, biggest news on this front. The good news for consumers—and retailers—is there’s evidence of momentum for change. Some traceability forerunners below.

 

Dean Foods’ Silk launched—just yesterday—a traceability websitewhere consumers can enter ID numbers from each carton. After suffering some bad PR and damaged retailer relationships when it launched several “natural” products, moving away from all certified organic, Silk says it’s committed to transparency. The company is now working with eco-nonprofit Conservation International as well as the Non-GMO Project, with a goal of using the group’s label on all products once fully certified.

 

Gaia Herbs’ “Meet your Herbsconsumer transparency program. An industry-wide first this summer, Gaia packages now bear ID numbers that consumers and retailers can enter via the company’s website or a mobile device app to learn how the herbs in that bottle were grown, harvested, extracted, and validated. Love it!

NSF International Sourcing Guide. Available online, this biannual guide lists 300 companies that have been tested and independently certified that a) what’s on the label is in the bottle, b) there are no contaminants or undeclared ingredients, and c) the manufacturing process meets GMP, or good manufacturing practices.

The Produce Traceability Initiative. Trade group Produce Marketing Association and industry players are working for supply chain-wide adoption of electronic traceability for every case of produce by 2012.

MM Local Foods.Close to my home in Boulder, Colorado, this tiny startup puts up jars of Western Slope peaches, Front Range tomatoes, and local hot peppers—and on every lid, there’s a tracking code that lets buyers figure out which farm their produce came from. Very cool.

How much do you think people care about traceability? Who’s working on traceability near you?

 

More on traceability:

Q&A with Patrick Pilz
Push for traceability now
The traceability trend

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