Safe Agricultural Products

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How to See Agricultural Products with Traceability Label on it

Produce traceability label Produce traceability label represents that “Customers can see through the growing process of the agricultural product.” The experience of the Council of Agriculture (COA) in promoting this label indicated that it is not easy for a product to obtain the label and farmers sometimes have to mobilize their whole families to closely follow the production procedure from the beginning to the end. And the key is computer and records.

According to laws and regulations, produce traceability has to keep and store all data using information system. Farmers who apply for produce traceability label have to put on record everything starting from cultivating seedlings to harvest and every time there is a new entry they must key the information into computer for uploading.

But it is very annoying for those farmers who are not good at writing and do not know how to use a computer. “Many farmers actually do not have time to do these things, so they have to mobilize their wives, children or even grandchildren for assistance,” said Mr. Tsui-ling Hsu, a specialist at Agriculture and Food Agency, the COA. “After tending their farms or fields for the day, they have to narrate what they had done in farms or fields for their assistants to put on record before keying into computer for uploading.”

And some farmers have told Hsu, “It is very difficult for us who use hoe to write with pen, and computer is like a monster which eats man.”

Farmers won’t have all these troubles and mobilize the whole family if they don’t apply for produce traceability. But they have taken pains to overcome all troubles to obtain the label in order to show customers that the agricultural products they grow are “100% safe” for consumption.

Of course, produce traceability requires farmers not only to keep a complete record of production procedures and then key them into computer. They have to take samples of farm soil and water they have been using for inspections and tests by the competent authorities. Only after passing the inspections and tests farmers are qualified to apply for produce traceability. Then they have to record everything they do in their farms or fields: When and what pesticides are used? How much fertilizers are used? When and what agricultural pesticides are sprayed? How much pesticides are sprayed? What is the date of safe period? When do they weed? When do they spray water?

And uploading the information does not complete the process. The accreditation organizations will constantly analyze the records, and Produce traceability label has a traceable code on it. conduct random inspections in the farm or field when there is any problem. For farmers, it seems they are being monitored all the time. “The frequency of random inspections is very high, about 4 in 10 cases,” said Mr. Hsu, adding that the inspection is not conducted once only and the farm produce is subject to follow-up inspection every year.

Produce traceability label has a traceable code on it. If a labeled agricultural product has any problem, the customer knows who should be held accountable for. “Our goal is very simple, that’s to make produce traceability label a guarantee of the agricultural product’s safety,” stressed Hsu.

“ 14 members of our production and marketing unit had applied for produce traceability labels and they all passed,” said Mr. Chun-lieh Tseng who is in charge of Tzongyi Tea Factory, a tea farmer with produce traceability.

The factory has used only 800 produce traceability labels at the request of a direct selling company. “All tea companies did not ask for the label,” because produce traceability has made production procedures of labeled agricultural products transparent, noted Tseng. Tea companies worry about losing business if customers go directly to farmers after buying the labeled tea from the companies. Another reason is tea companies worry that the sale of tea without produce traceability labels will be adversely affected if they also sell labeled tea.

This means tea companies realized the formidable force of produce traceability far ahead of customers and deliberately prevented customers from contacting produce traceability labels. And that’s the reason why customers are advised to ask the seller to show produce traceability label. In fact, some smart customers have learned to “trace back to” premium agricultural products according to their produce traceability. In other words, consumers can obtain for themselves better guarantee and more safety just by taking the initiative to buy products with traceability labels.