A recent seminar sponsored by N2N Global, Longwood, Fla., helped clear up some issues regarding the Produce Traceability Initiative, according to sponsors and presenters.

Traceability seminar draws retailer and grower-shipper interest

Gary Fleming, president of Symbolon Group, Denver, said he thinks the first N2N University, in Orlando, Fla., on April 7, helped educate retail, foodservice, grower-shippers and distributors attendees about the requirements and best practices of PTI.

“The retailers are grateful because they now understand this,” he said. “One in particular has already started moving plans forward with his suppliers to make them more in line with the PTI.”

The challenge for larger retailers, however, is to take that knowledge and spread it throughout the company.

 â€œThe person attending for that retailer has a better understanding, but the question is will that person’s knowledge make it back to the appropriate people making the decisions of the supermarket’s practices?” Fleming said. “That’s where the key issue is.”

Fleming, former vice president of industry technology and standards for the Newark, Del.-based Produce Marketing Association, said the day-long session delved deep into the topic and finished by discussing how other food traceability initiatives could affect buyers and suppliers that supply other items such as grocery.

Angela Paymard, N2N Global’s chairwoman, said the seminar allowed people throughout the supply and distribution chain to receive needed answers and showed how many in the industry have bought into PTI.

“Some people may have thought retailers weren’t moving forward on this because they hadn’t been asked for their (Global Trade Item Numbers),” she said. “But we didn’t see that.”

Paymard said about 10 of the seminar’s 50 attendees represented retailers.

N2N has scheduled 10 more seminars through September, with the next one May 19 in Yakima, Wash.