In the fourth quarter of 2011, RedLine Solutions Inc. began offering traceability consulting services to produce companies, hiring Gary Fleming to lead the operation as vice president of strategic services.

Known for its food safety and traceability products, the Santa Clara, Calif., company entered the consulting arena to help produce companies that are still wrestling with how to address traceability, said RedLine chief executive officer Todd Baggett.

“Our consulting services will operate independently of our product business operations,” Baggett said.

RedLine launches consulting serviceFleming brings behind-the-scenes knowledge of traceability requirements to the job, having worked previously for the Produce Marketing Association as vice president of industry technology and standards. During his time with PMA in Newark, Del., Fleming served as a developer and spokesman for the Produce Traceability Initiative.

Baggett said one of Fleming’s strengths is his broad understanding of all sectors of the fresh produce industry and the supply chain. He is also fluent in government food safety and traceability regulations.

During a mid-December online seminar for RedLine, Fleming said communication between trading partners is a basic yet often deficient factor in companies’ traceability equations. He told growers and distributors their retail customers will require traceability in the near future, if they don’t already demand it.

“Retailers already have it going on in other departments like meat and dairy,” he said. “They like to be able to tell consumers they have suppliers with traceability. FMSA (rules) will come out in June, probably, and require retailers to participate.”