Looking to spark momentum and engagement in the industry led initiative to bring case-level traceability to the produce supply chain by the end of 2012, a call for volunteer leadership has been issued by the Produce Traceability Initiative.

Industry volunteers are being sought for working groups engaged in implementation, data exchange, communications and technology, according to a news release from the associations administering the initiative.

Those groups are the Ottawa-based Canadian Produce Marketing Association, the Newark, Del.-based Produce Marketing Association, the Washington, D.C.-based United Fresh Produce Association and Lawrenceville, N.J.-based GS1 US.

Julia Stewart, public relations director for PMA said PTI will accommodate everyone who is interested in volunteering. “The key message here is that the PTI is working hard to fulfill the promise we made earlier this year to be more transparent, more engaging and do more outreach and education," she said.

The four working groups will be organized under what is described as a new PTI leadership council (see www.producetraceability.org/resources_tools/index.cfm), which replaces the previous steering committee structure, according to the release.

The PTI leadership council features retailers, foodservice operators and distributors, produce suppliers and wholesalers. The group also will be the liaison to the GS1 US Foodservice Standards Initiative. Stewart said the council members have not been named yet, but said the council will have expanded supply chain representation, particularly on the buying side.

That foodservice industry standardization initiative is on a similar traceability track to PTI, the release said.

“This new structure will establish the platform for every industry member to become more involved with the PTI initiative,” steering committee chairwoman Cathy Green, president of Food Lion LLC, Salisbury, N.C., said in the release. “We believe this structure will create a more inclusive process that will benefit PTI and the industry alike.”

Volunteers must be members of the PTI organizations, according to the release. Interested people were instructed to contact Marlo Bodinizzo of GS1 US at mbodinizzo@gs1us.org by Sept. 27.