Fresh produce growers are familiar with the Produce Traceability Initiative and its goal to achieve supply chain-wide adoption of electronic traceability by the year 2012. But if you are unfamiliar with barcoding technology, then you might not know exactly what it is you need that will give you a complete tracking solution.
PTI will require that you label each and every case of your fresh produce. The label must include barcode information containing your Lot Number and your Global Trade Identification Number (GTIN), which specifies the product in each produce case. Other information must include human readable GTIN and lot or batch numbers below the bar code.
The barcode information allows you to trace each Lot Number to a specific growing location and packing date. In addition, this information must be maintained electronically so you can track the status of lots and items shipped to every customer and electronically share this data with your customers and the FDA when necessary.
How do you accomplish all of this successfully? Let’s briefly look at the tools that will help you implement the traceability initiative:
- Software. You’ll need a software package to track your harvest data and to create the labels you need to put on cases. You’ll want to have this data available to your other management systems too.
- Mobile computer. A mobile computer lets you capture your data at the point of activity in the field. Mobile computers have a wide range of capabilities, and some models come in a ruggedized version for use in difficult conditions.
- Barcode labels. Labels come in all types of materials, shapes, and sizes. You’ll want to select one that will work on your specific packaging. Depending upon your environment or processes, you might need labels made of specialized materials with aggressive adhesives. Labels have to remain in-place on your produce case and be readable throughout shipping, so label choice is important.
- Barcode printers. Accurate and scannable barcode labels are essential for tracking and tracing, and the printers that print the barcodes can go anywhere – in the field or in your office. Wireless printers, smart printers, or rugged printers are just some of the options available today.
- Network connections. Connecting your field data to your accounting and management systems completes your traceability solution.
Are you implementing the produce traceability initiative in your organization? Are you having difficulty deciding what products are right for you? Give us a call at (603) 598-1553, x237 to discuss your particular application. We’ll help you choose the tools to implement your traceability solution in a practical and cost-effective way.
For more information about PTI and compliance, visit their website.