(Oct. 9) In an increasingly global market, an organization like the International Federation for Produce Standards likely will prove its value in short order.

The only question: Why aren’t more countries who are major fruit and vegetable producers involved in the organization?

Establishing one set of standards in technology, good agricultural practices, traceability and logistics is in the interest of any produce company or association that does business across international borders. The IFPS was launched Sept. 15 with that very goal in mind.

Produce associations in the U.S., Chile, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Norway and New Zealand coordinated their efforts to get the IFPS started.

Standardizing Price Look-Up labels internationally was the idea that originally propelled the various associations, including the Produce Marketing Association in the U.S., to action in organizing the IFPS, said Jane Proctor, IFPS chairwoman and director of industry technology and standardization for the Ottawa-based Canadian Produce Marketing Association.

But the idea soon morphed to include other issues. And why not?

Now the IFPS, based primarily at the Newark, Del.-based PMA, stands as the first incorporated body constituted of national organizations providing direct representation of their respective countries’ constituents.

The IFPS has no policy-making power but will present guidelines and recommendations, Proctor said. Many, if not all, of those recommendations, it would seem, should find their way into policy. Governments, after all, often look to industry experts for guidance in setting policies.

So, why aren’t other major produce-oriented nations involved — major players like China, South Africa and Mexico?

It would seem the first order of business for the IFPS is to get those and other major fruit- and vegetable-exporting countries into the fold.

Proctor said that would happen.

It should — sooner rather than later. Only when all nations are on the same page regarding food safety, traceability and other major issues can an organization like the IFPS bear fruit.