The Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI) is a voluntary program developed by the Produce Marketing Association, United Fresh Produce Association, Canadian Produce Marketing Association and GS1 US to help develop a standardized industry approach to speed traceability.
In 2008, an industry-wide steering committee set a series of milestones, each one specifying a date for launching various stages of the program. The goal of PTI is to enable tracing of any case of produce from grower to retailer.
The Produce Traceability Initiative specifies Dec. 31 2012 as the deadline for buyers, receivers and handlers to meet the final PTI milestone #7 – reading and storing data from labels on outbound cases of produce.
“All buyers, receivers and subsequent handlers of cases should have systems in place to read and store the GTIN and lot number for all outbound cases of produce.”
Vital information that ensures traceback on the produce case is lost unless the data is stored, and this milestone details the data to scan and store:
- The GTIN and lot/batch numabers stored in each case of produce must be scanned and stored. If the lot/batch number is not unique by pack or harvest date, then the pack or harvest data must also be scanned and stored.
- Additional data includes the buyer or receiver contact information, product description and quantity, unit of measure, shipment ID, vendor or supplier contact information, date of shipment, ship to location and shipper.
- Records must be kept a minimum of two years.
- Reading and storing data from outbound cases should begin by the year 2012 to meet the PTI deadline
The PTI leaders encouraged growers, shippers and distributors to have PTI compliance in place before the 2012 deadline to be ready for retailers. PTI estimates that up to 20% of all domestic fresh produce is now PTI-labeled, with more companies becoming compliant every month.
With technology improvements and software solutions, achieving traceability and PTI goals improves quality and efficiencies that couldn’t be possible without standardized traceability. In addition to traceability, growers and retailers will see better quality, less spoilage and waste, and cost improvements. Other benefits include:
- Improved operational visibility into the harvest and packing processes so growers can better optimize labor or other resources. With better tracking of a harvest, growers can know when the product left the field and when it arrived at storage or processing facilities.
- Reduced errors and labor costs because traceability allows for automated receipt of products, pallet identification to streamline shipments, and no more error-prone manual data entry.
- Source lot validation and directed picking to prevent costly source lot commingling. Direct forklift drivers to the right location for each pack run and validate the source lot for the bulk product before loading onto the forklift. Such validation saves time and reduces costs associated with handling the wrong product, and also ensures the integrity of the traceability process.
- Efficiently collect, track, and report valuable data pertaining to operations and accurately identify areas of potential improvement and the effect of changes.
Want to find out more about track-and-trace solutions for your business? You can read a related white paper “Tracing Food in the Supply Chain”. For more on PTI and their milestones, go here.
Do you need the right labeling products to aid your efforts at complying with PTI or other industry regulations? Call us at 1-800-325-5260 to discuss a solution that’s right for you.