This week, the Minneapolis Star Tribune came out with a story entitled “The peanut recall: From start to end” detailing how Lunds, a Minnesota-based grocery chain, responded to one of the largest and most complicated food recalls (read the recap here: www.startribune.com/business/).
This excerpt made me pause: “A typical Lunds or Byerly's store carries more than 30,000 distinct products, each with its own Universal Product Code, or UPC. That's the black-and-white bar code that cashiers scan at the checkout. It's also the key for most retailers when a recall is announced; no other code works as quickly.”
Using this technology, all of Lunds’ products could be cross-checked with the UPC code of the source (King Nut products). While the article attempts to describe the complex food chain to consumers, I couldn’t help but wonder when this level of traceability will be required for beef products – whether from within our industry, or more likely, consumers of our products.