New Web Site to Help Produce Supply Chain Reach Traceability Milestones

 It’s designed to be an online resource to aid produce companies and others in the supply chain in the transition to new traceability measures proposed by the joint Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI).
Administered jointly by PMA, United Fresh and CPMA, the site includes resources and educational tools for those wanting to learn more about the PTI, a list of companies that support the PTI, a bulletin board and Q&A section for industry questions and discussion, a news and events section, a press room containing recent news releases, headshots of spokespersons, contact information and an art gallery.
Since October 2008, more than 40 companies from throughout the produce supply chain have endorsed the recommendations developed by the PTI Steering Committee to move the supply chain to a common standard for electronic produce traceability by the end of 2012. The plan involves adopting a standardized system of case bar-coding for all produce sold in the United States, in order to allow product to be tracked throughout the distribution chain. The plan will maximize the effectiveness of the industry’s current traceability procedures, improve external efficiencies and assist public officials when they need to quickly trace back a product. Intended to enhance overall supply chain traceability in speed and efficiency, a standardized system could significantly improve the industry’s ability to narrow the impact of product recalls.
Producetraceability.org aims to assist in the fulfillment of seven steps devised by the Steering Committee to move the supply chain to chain-wide, electronic traceability by late 2012. According to the recommendations, by first quarter 2009, “brand owners” (i.e., the owner of the brand that appears on the product in the case) will (1) obtain GS1-issued company prefixes required to create Global Trade Identification Numbers (GTINs) and (2) assign 14-digit GTINs to every case configuration they pack. They will then (3) provide those GTINs to their buyers by third quarter 2009, so that buyers can input this data into their information management systems. By third quarter 2010, brand owners will begin placing the GTIN and lot number on case labels in (4) human-readable form and (5) machine-readable barcodes. Each subsequent handler of the case will be able to scan and store the GTIN and lot number on (6) inbound cases in 2011, and (7) on outbound cases in 2012.


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