Is the Produce Traceability Initiative timeline unrealistic or are industry members not properly informed about the timeline and requirements?


Or is PTI even necessary?


Just by asking these questions, it’s clear that a large number of produce suppliers are confused, so the proper education hasn’t happened.


As for the necessity of traceability, it’s been a federal law for almost a decade, so if a company can’t trace its produce one up and one back, and there’s an outbreak, that company may not survive to sell again.


The California Citrus Mutual has asked the United Fresh Produce Association and the Produce Marketing Association to postpone PTI’s fourth milestone set for October. This milestone requires packers to encode Global Trade Item Numbers and lot numbers on a barcode at the case level.


Citrus Mutual president Joel Nelsen said some of his members say they need thousands of GTINs, and the average member must invest $250,000 to implement PTI.


That many GTINs are probably not needed, and costs haven’t been properly explained.


We agree that still too many industry members are confused about traceability, but the solution is not a postponement.
The solution is a more serious effort by every produce company — buyer and seller — to determine what it needs to do to become PTI compliant and then PTI leaders must take the time to explain it all.


Traceability is not an option. It’s a law. The industry leadership has set forth as good a roadmap to compliance as one could hope for in PTI.


We’re pretty certain a federal mandate would not be as business-friendly.

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