(UPDATED COVERAGE, March 30) Nearly three out of four produce industry companies say they are working to implement the Produce Traceability Initiative, according to a survey, but less than two-thirds are on track with the timeline.


The PTI steering committee on March 25 released the summary of an industry survey about attitudes and implementation of traceability measures.


The survey, by the Produce Marketing Association and the United Fresh Produce Association, polled more than 260 industry members selling in the U.S. It revealed that most of those polled are making progress toward implementing chain-wide, electronic traceability, according to a joint news release from PMA, United Fresh and Ottawa, Ontario-based Canadian Produce Marketing Association.


The survey found the primary reason preventing implementation is the perception of high costs. Other reasons include lack of awareness of the initiative and waiting on government regulation before implementation.


The survey indicates the industry’s commitment to PTI is 6.51, with 1 being not committed and 10 extremely committed.


About 70% of those surveyed had a GS1 prefix at the time of the survey, and 64% of brand owners reported they have assigned a Global Trade Item Number to all their case configurations. Just 42% have established a process to communicate GTIN information to their buyers, the survey said.  Only 30% of receivers reported being contacted by suppliers to convey GTIN information.


GS1 U.S., Lawrenceville, N.J., also released results of a PTI survey of  retailers and foodservice operators.


That survey, which included the results of 12 one-on-one interviews, with buyers by GS1 U.S. showed that 83% were aware of PTI.


Jon Mellor, director of external affairs for GS1 US, Lawrenceville, N.J., the U.S. arm of the global GS1 organization, said some retail interviews are ongoing for the survey.


Of those buyers who said they were aware of PTI and the milestones, 70% said they are working toward implementing PTI.


According to the GS1 U.S. survey, only 20% of the buying firms are scanning produce cases, and those are only at distribution centers. The remaining companies do not have the a project in place to begin scanning cases or pallets received or shipped.


Mellor said GS1 US will be devoting more resources for education and support of the PTI.


“We will have a solid presence at the United Fresh show next month and we will have PTI related content at our own conference in San Antonio,” he said.