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July 12, 2020

Western Growers launches food safety risk management program

SALINAS–During a Forbes AgTech Summit session June 27 moderated by Frank Yiannas, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s deputy commissioner for Food Policy and Response, Western Growers launched its new Supply Chain Risk Management Solution, a unique and comprehensive program that aims to reduce the number of food contamination outbreaks, substantially improve food safety and keep consumers safe.

“This industry-driven solution is a momentous step in taking control of supply chain food safety and traceability issues as identified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration,” said Tom Nassif, president and CEO of Western Growers. “We have faced several high-profile food contamination events within the past few years, and this program will allow us to go beyond the traditional paper-based food tracking system and improve industry information while addressing concerns identified by public health authorities and consumers.”

The Supply Chain Risk Management Solution utilizes new technology to advance food safety in several ways:

• Daily Assessment: While industry currently assesses compliance and successful implementation of practices through third-party audits (a snapshot in time), this program’s unique software system allows companies daily and continuous input on their food safety performance.

• Track Trends: This system allows companies to easily review and track food safety data to identify trends that facilitate ongoing improvements in food safety practices throughout the supply chain.

• Traceability: The program provides instantaneous case and item level traceability across the entire supply chain using cloud and blockchain enabled technology.

• Financial Protection: The solution offers indemnification to supply chain participants in the case of a contamination event.

Western Growers has partnered with iFoodDecisionSciences to deliver the unique software system, which allows companies the ability to assess and track all food safety systems and processes in real time and provides actionable information on needed improvements. Additionally, Trimble HarvestMark’s blockchain enabled technology provides a readily available traceback and traceforward capability that can quickly narrow and identify the specific products that are and are not involved in a food safety event.

The insurance portion of the Supply Chain Risk Management Solution offers access to superior crisis management guidance from Western Growers Insurance Services as well as legal counsel and claim adjudication.—

Several Western Growers member companies that grow, ship and process leafy greens are currently testing this software. When these pilot projects are complete, the solution will be widely available.

The Supply Chain Risk Management Solution is designed to be open source and to work with other existing systems already in place. Western Growers will utilize anonymized data from the program to help inform, improve and protect the entire industry and advance supply chain reliability, transparency and responsiveness.


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