Thursday, June 24, 2010

Tracking Fresh Produce with RFID

Source: Cal Poly Magazine, Spring 2010, article by Stacia Momburg

Patented RFID Application
This use of RFID Technology was patented in June 2009 by California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) in San Luis Obispo.

Professor Developed Technology
Cal Poly Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering (IME) Professor Tali Freed developed essential components of this multi-layered application of a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tag.
(Excerpt) "[She] developed the technology for a [RFID] tag that helps growers track food when it’s shipped to distributors.

The RFID ... is unique in that it can be hermetically sealed to remain intact long term on reusable plastic [tote] containers.

Farmers produce a paper barcode tag that can be affixed over the RFID chip. The tag peels off during the tote sterilization process, and the RFID chip remains on the tote. After each use, a new tag is reprogrammed in the field to match assigned produce barcodes and is affixed over the RFID chip."

Tracking Fresh Produce from the Field to a Store's Shelf
The journey of fresh produce from where it is grown and harvested, to distributor's warehouses, and onto a store's shelf or produce display can be tracked using this application of RFID.
(Excerpt) "The technology allows farmers to track shipments from field to store shelf. If a shipment is contaminated, the farmer can determine where contamination may have occurred to mitigate contamination of future shipments."

Technology Available for Licensing
(Excerpt) "The [California Central Coast Research Partnership] C3RP office, under the direction of the Research and Graduate Program Office, facilitates and enhances the transfer of intellectual property, resources, and information between Cal Poly and the business community in an effort to improve the commercial value of inventions and creative work from the University and to make this intellectual property available to the public."
Marketing the Patent
(Excerpt) "... [Some Cal Poly] faculty and students have invented tools with the potential to make a real difference in our world. Jim Dunning is the C3RP project administrator who works to market the patents held by the university ... [There are currently] 11 patents with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Among those inventions [is] ... a way to track produce [using RFID] from grower to shelf, to battle against contamination ...

[Jim] Dunning said he’s working to license the product to large-scale produce industry. 'Retailers tell us they really like the idea and want growers to use the technology,' he said. 'We’re trying to find a creative way to market this to some of our industry partners."

A Question for Blog Readers
If possible, what fresh produce information for consumers would you like to see voluntarily gathered by farmers, distributors, and grocers to be available for reading at the grocer's shelf/produce display -- to help you make a fresh produce purchase decision? Is it an appropriate use of governmental powers to "require" that any of this be available at a fresh produce display?

Next post scheduled 7.8.10: "RFID Citizen Card"

LIFT (Link I Found Today)
The following is simply the last segment to read at the end of this post and may or may not be in any way appropriate or relevant to anything ...
Source: Sacramento Bee
Report that includes ideas about higher-density development, less automobile-dependent transportation, and other things