PTI requirements and solutions are becoming frequent topics of conversation in the produce industry, but this initiative has yet to be fully adopted due to hesitation regarding cost and the potential complexity attached to meeting the PTI requirements. In this article, I summarize what the Produce Traceability Initiative is, how it is implemented and the benefits of converting to this system of inventory management.

The Produce Traceability Initiative is a voluntary effort on the part of those in the produce industry to improve their traceability capabilities. As a result of these improvements, “suspect product” can quickly be removed from the marketplace while limiting the impact of the recall on other suppliers and products. Produce traceability has been a topic of conversation since the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act of 1930 which introduced the foundation for produce traceability. The more recent Bioterrorism Act of 2002 introduced the “one step up and one step back” traceability requirements to the produce industries.

How can PTI be implemented?

Simply put, PTI standardizes data collection and processing across the supply chain. With standardized barcodes (pictured above), packers, repackers, wholesalers, distribution centers, retailers and food service providers can better track and monitor the produce that they handle. The PTI barcode solution creates a coding system that can be read by each company across the supply chain, simplifying communication of information. These barcodes include a Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) to identify the manufacturer and product contained within the case and a lot number to identify the lot the produce originated from. This information is displayed on the case containing the produce in both human-readable form and machine-readable (see above photograph).

PTI Solutions are implemented at the case level rather than at the individual product level for a number of reasons. By labeling produce by the case, traceability is not only more affordable but more effective and efficient.

What are the benefits of implementing PTI labeling?

  • Companies earn the confidence of the government and consumers
  • Limits the scope and cost of food recalls
  • Investigations become more efficient and less costly
  • More consistency in regards to communication of product information across the supply chain
  • Speeds up delivery of orders to retailers and distributors
  • Can measurably improve operational efficiency
  • Protects public health
  • Increased customer satisfaction
  • Complies with FDA mandates

What would be the most effective way to implement the Produce Traceability Initiative?

The most effective, efficient and affordable way to implement the Produce Traceability Initiative would be to utilize mobile computing and printing technology. With mobile barcode scanners and printers, workers can print labels at the point of application ensuring accuracy and limiting wasted materials.

Let us help you develop your food traceability solution drawing from our comprehensive catalog of technologies including mobile and stationary computers and printers. Our team is trained to help you create a customized solution that can easily be integrated into your existing infrastructure.

For more information on the Produce Traceability Initiative, visit their official web site.

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