If you haven’t set up your Produce Traceability Initiative compliance program yet, now may be the time to act, says Dan Vache, vice president, supply chain management for United Fresh Produce Association in Washington, D.C.

He provides these three steps:

1. Put an internal team together made up of employees from throughout your operation, not just food safety or quality control people.

2. Do your homework. Talk to your neighbors to find out which companies they’ve consulted.

3. Implement the program, or at least be able to do so if your customers require it. “There are advantages to being early adopters,” he says. “If you have to start at ground zero, you may be left out.”

Don’t give up on the program just because you’re a small grower, Vache says.

More than 35 providers are available who are willing and to help you implement a traceability program. Costs already are coming down, after the initial adopters have honed the process. “This whole thing is scalable,” he says.

For more information and a list of questions to ask potential traceability vendors, visit http://producetraceability.org.

See related article, Growers work to meet last produce PTI deadline.