Making farm-to-table source traceability work — Even on a global scale

By Jean Shieh

Making Farm-to-Table Source Traceability Work — Even on a Global Scale

A core tenet of the “farm-to-table” movement is the expectation of growing, buying and eating local. For consumers, it’s about knowing where their food comes from: how it’s grown and harvested, and the steps it took from the field to their plate.

Easy enough to imagine on a small scale, but what if the world’s your table? Can a food’s history still be traced after it’s traveled hundreds, or thousands, of miles? Can its safety and freshness be guaranteed? The answer is yes when the product supply chain is carefully vetted, supervised, and well-documented.

For instance, here are the steps we control to ensure the quality, stability, sustainability and traceability of our California-grown garlic and onions:

  • Start with seed development and natural plant breeding (Non-GMO Project Verified) for our virus-free California garlic and high-solids-content California onion.
  • Then onto ground selection, which is done in carefully selected growing regions that are best for the specific crop type. The rotating crops in the selected fields are also reviewed, for instance, to avoid gluten and other contaminants. For organic crops, further investigations are done to ensure we meet the USDA National Organic Program guidelines.
  • Growth occurs under careful supervision as well. For organic crops, since the use of synthetic herbicides are not allowed, hand-weeding is often used to reduce weed pressures. Irrigation is also carefully monitored during dry seasons.
  • Finally comes harvesting, done with customized equipment to increase yield and dedicated trucks to ensure traceability, followed by a specialized process to minimize loss in potency of the natural garlic/onion flavor and aroma.

The same care is taken with parsley and every other crop that Sensient Natural Ingredients (SNI) harvests. For us, farm to table means a close eye at every stage of the process, and having the systems in place to trace every step from start to finish.

This approach isn’t new to SNI — we’ve always been transparent about how our products are grown and processed. What the farm-to-table movement has done is showcase what we’ve been doing all along to provide the best quality possible, which our customers demand and the consumers expect.