Friday, October 17, 2008

Washington state speeds produce inspection by giving all its inspectors portable computers

In Washington state, inspecting produce for export has just gotten a lot easier, now that all inspectors have portable computers. Washington state is the third-largest exporter of fruits and vegetables in the U.S., and Jim Quigley, the state Agriculture Department's fruit and vegetable program manager, told The Associated Press, "We're the only state I'm aware of to put these kinds of tools in the hands of our inspectors."

Inspectors enter information about the quality of produce, using drop-down menus to guide them to examples of quality in particular types of fruit, rather than voluminous reference books they once used. Their inspection information is quickly sent to the department's Web site, allowing exporters and trade associations monitoring crop movement to access the information immediately. The technology is "speeding the inspection process," writes AP's Shannon Dininny, "while making it easier for industry officials to gather information necessary to market the crop and monitor shipments." (Read more)

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