(Oct. 20, 2:14 p.m.) PLANT CITY, Fla. — Gary Wishnatzki, president of Wishnatzki Farms, has started a field-based quality control and traceback system.

Wishnatzki, the head of one of Florida’s largest strawberry grower-shippers, has opened a separate company called Virtual One. Through Virtual One, Wishnatzki plans to market FreshQC, a quality control system that can trace individual containers of berries back to the field and to the picker that harvested them.

It’s a different system than what’s currently being offered for traceback on strawberries, Wishnatzki said.

“What makes this unique is that it has a quality control aspect to it,” Wishnatzki said. “That’s a key component that adds value to it. With other traceback systems, all you’re getting is traceback.”

Quality control employees use barcode scanning equipment for the software-based FreshQC, which Wishnatzki calls a complete quality improvement system.

Workers apply barcodes to master cartons and clamshells scanned in the field. The program integrates data collection, traceback and payroll capability and captures detailed information and links it to individual produce packs that can be accessed via the Internet. That data includes harvesting and field information such as harvest time, block, variety, planting date, picker and nursery source.

Wishnatzki said he plans to release the software package to the industry sometime in 2009. He said cost for the software is yet to be determined. Wishnatzki said he has found a good way to perform traceback and quality control and wants to improve it.

While Wishnatzki is using the FreshQC system on his strawberries, he said he plans to incorporate the system into production of bell peppers, cucumbers, squash and melons next year.

Virtual One, also located in Plant City, not far from Wishnatzki’s offices, is run separately from Wishnatzki’s longtime berry and vegetables growing and shipping operations.

Wishnatzki made an announcement about the program to growers in August at the Florida Strawberry Growers Association's Agritech 2008 meeting and plans to roll out the program nationally Oct. 24-27 at the Produce Marketing Association Fresh Summit in Orlando, Fla.

Minor Bolanos, Virtual One’s product development manager, brings years of information technology experience to the company, Wishnatzki said. Bolanos, a Costa Rica native, has a business degree from the University of Florida in Tampa and has worked for several information technology companies, Wishnatzki said.

Wishnatzki to market unique berry traceback system
Karen Woodworth, of Roberts Communications, Tampa, Fla. (from left), with Gary Wishnatzki, president of Wishnatzki Farms, Plant City, Fla., and Minor Bolanos, product development manager with Virtual One, Plant City, in front of a display for Virtual One’s FreshQC traceback system at a recent strawberry industry gathering.