Produce Traceability Initiative Momentum Continues as Buyers Prepare for Implementation Roll-outs

For Immediate Release: May 23, 2013

PTI Leadership Council discusses industry progress, use of ASNs, and comments for IFT traceability recommendations

For More Information, Contact:

CPMA: Lianne Wand, [email protected], 613-226-4187 ext 225

GS1 US: Krisztina Vida, [email protected], 609-620-8042

PMA: Meg Miller, [email protected], 302-738-7100 ext 3031

United Fresh: Ray Gilmer, [email protected], 202-303-3425

Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI) Leadership Council members agree the increasing percentage of produce cases marked with PTI labels is a reassuring sign that momentum for PTI continues supported by buyers who are preparing to receive labels later this year. The Leadership Council, representing 32 companies in the produce industry, held its biannual meeting last week in conjunction with United Fresh 2013 Discover Fresh Horizons event in San Diego, California, and reported that buyers are seeing between 22 and 50 percent of produce cases with PTI labels at their distribution centers and other facilities.

The council discussed implementation activities and progress made by both the grower/packer/shipper and buyer community, including a pilot project report about the benefits of using Advance Ship Notices (ASNs) as an alternative to hybrid pallet tags to facilitate sharing Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs), Batch/Lot Numbers, and other key data elements useful for produce traceability.

“Based on industry experiences shared by both suppliers and buyers, PTI Leadership Council members agree that using ASNs with Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) or a simple flat file format is a promising method of sharing traceability information among trading partners,” said Doug Grant, co-chair of the Leadership Council and Senior Vice President and Chief Operations Officer of The Oppenheimer Group that recently conducted a pilot using ASNs and will publish the results in the next few weeks.

The council also reviewed comments the four administering organizations of the PTI are planning to submit to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in response to the traceability recommendations made by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) in support of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Members agreed to provide joint comments from the Canadian Produce Marketing Association, GS1 US, Produce Marketing Association and United Fresh Produce Association on behalf of their members to express that PTI guidelines and best practices are in alignment with IFT traceability recommendations, conveying that the associations are not suggesting additional regulations are needed beyond the current law. Once finalized, the comments will be available on the PTI website prior to the submission deadline of July 3, 2013 to the FDA.

To provide a broader view of industry traceability efforts and discussions underway, Hilary Thesmar, Vice President of Food Safety Programs at the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), briefed the PTI leadership on traceability-related priorities for FMI’s Food Protection Committee that reports to the FMI Board level Food Safety Committee, and on the work of the Fresh Foods Executive Council.

“The great turnout and participation at our Leadership Council meeting demonstrate the industry’s continued commitment to PTI implementation,” said Mike Agostini, Senior Director, Produce, Wal-Mart Stores, co-chair of the PTI Leadership Council. “The sell-side of our industry is ready, buyers are also preparing for roll-outs in the near future, and the collaboration of the PTI community is helping the industry make progress with shared goals and growing expertise.”

About the Canadian Produce Marketing Association

Based in Ottawa, Ontario, the Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA) is a not-for-profit organization representing over 770 Canadian and International member companies that are active in the marketing of fresh fruits and vegetables in Canada from the farm gate to the dinner plate. CPMA members represent all segments of the fresh produce industry. CPMA’s vision is to enable and lead the produce industry by enhancing the market and facilitating trade of fresh fruits and vegetables for its members. For more information about CPMA, please visit

About GS1 US

GS1 US, a member of GS1, is an information standards organization that brings industry communities together to solve supply-chain problems through the adoption and implementation of GS1 standards. More than 300,000 businesses in 25 industries rely on GS1 US for trading-partner collaboration and for maximizing the cost effectiveness, speed, visibility, security and sustainability of their business processes. They achieve these benefits through solutions based on GS1 global unique numbering and identification systems, bar codes, Electronic Product Code (EPC®)-based Radio Frequency Identification (RFID, data synchronization, and electronic information exchange. GS1 US also manages the United Nations Standard Products and Services Code (UNSPSC®).

About Produce Marketing Association (PMA)

Produce Marketing Association is the leading trade association representing companies from every segment of the global produce and floral supply chain. PMA helps members grow by providing business solutions that expand business opportunities and increase sales and consumption. For more information, visit

About United Fresh Produce Association (United Fresh)

Founded in 1904, the United Fresh Produce Association serves companies at the forefront of the global fresh and fresh-cut produce industry, including growers, shippers, fresh-cut processors, wholesalers, distributors, retailers, foodservice operators, industry suppliers and allied associations. From its headquarters in Washington, D.C. and Western Regional office in Salinas, Calif., United Fresh and its members work year-round to make a difference for the produce industry by driving policies that increase consumption of fresh produce, shaping critical legislative and regulatory action, providing scientific and technical leadership in food safety, quality assurance, nutrition and health, and developing educational programs and business opportunities to assist member companies in growing successful businesses. For more information, visit

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