( Hurst International )

Los Angeles-based Hurst International is touting item-level traceability capabilities of its patented Print on Demand (POD) Versaprint labeling system.

Hurst’s POD Versaprint labeling system can add an additional traceability code on each price look-up label, extending traceability to the item level rather than the case level, according to a news release.

The PLU label, commonly applied to bulk produce items, can include an additional traceability code to allow each produce item can be traced back to its origin. The labeling system, company officials say, can also be used to announce sales events or promotions reaching the consumers when they purchase a produce item at the store level. 

The traceability codes include lot numbers, grower codes, dates, Julian dates, time stamps, packing house locations, packing lines and production.

“By identifying the origin of each produce item, the grower/shipper/packer can determine where the fruit or vegetable was at any given date and track the process to see who came into contact with it,” the release said. If the traceability codes are employed on PLU labels, food recalls would be limited to implicated produce and prevent needless food waste.

Information included in the PLU label can also be added to a blockchain distributed ledger to be effectively traced back throughout the supply chain, according to the release.

Hurst’s POD Versaprint labeling system is used by packers of citrus, apple, pear, stone fruit, avocado, pomegranate, and kiwifruit, according to the release.

“The Direct Thermal Printing technology allows packers to label up to 63 different graphics at speeds up to 15 fruits per second with the highest effective application rate in the industry,” according to the release.