October 24, 2014

Distribution centers PTI focus for 2015

Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI) Leadership Council members agree that industry-wide preparedness for receiving produce cases with GS1-128 barcodes encoded with standardized product identification and batch/lot numbers at the distribution center level will need to be the focus area for PTI in 2015.

The Leadership Council, representing 32 companies in the produce industry, held its semiannual meeting in mid-October in conjunction with PMA’s Fresh Summit 2014 in Anaheim, and affirmed the industry needs to continue to share insights from implementations as the buyer community is preparing to upgrade systems and modify processes in anticipation of proposed rules for traceability under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

“We had a very engaged and energizing discussion about where the industry needs to direct its attention in the coming year in terms of PTI,” said Doug Grant, co-chair of the PTI Leadership Council and executive vice-president and chief operations officer of The Oppenheimer Group. “Several supply side companies talked about the positive results of mock recalls they have conducted utilizing PTI labels and best practices.”

As one of the outcomes of the meeting, two major retailers have made an offer to conduct an evaluation and process review on the use of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) transactions that would support traceability processes.

Council members also shared other implementation benefits, including the rapid and precise identification of recalled product, and emphasized the importance of striving toward industry-wide preparedness for recording and storing case-level traceability information for cases of produce received at the distribution center (PTI Milestone 6).

In 2015, PTI working groups will convene as needed to support this goal along with driving the use of Advance Ship Notice (ASN) in the industry, revisit the use of the voice pick code and update best practice documents as appropriate based on implementation outcomes.

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