PTI FYI E-news: March/April 2013

What’s new with the Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI)? This edition of PTI FYI includes:

In This Update

For more information, contact CPMA’s Jane Proctor, GS1 US Angela Fernandez, PMA’s Ed Treacy and United Fresh’s Dan Vaché.

In This Update

News: FSMA Update – Industry Submits Comments to FDA on IFT Traceability Recommendations

With the support and approval of the PTI Leadership Council, the PTI community is preparing comments on behalf of the industry to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in response to the IFT traceability recommendations in support of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). In addition to the press release PTI issued on March 4, the comments will be addressing the alignment between PTI and the IFT recommendations to further strengthen PTI as an industry-led initiative and help the produce industry make continued progress with traceability implementations.

The Institute of Food Technologists’ (IFT) long awaited report Pilot Projects for Improving Product Tracing along the Food Supply System released by FDA detail the results of the pilot projects designed to explore and demonstrate methods for rapid and effective tracking and tracing of food, including types of data that are useful for tracing and ways to connect the various points in the supply chain.

The report contains 10 recommendations—for FDA’s consideration in support of FSMA—on record keeping requirements, industry-led initiatives and the reporting of Critical Tracking Events (CTEs) and Key Data Elements (KDEs), and more. The four administering organizations of PTI (Canadian Produce Marketing Association, GS1 US, Produce Marketing Association, and United Fresh Produce Association), are working to collect industry feedback and commentary on the 10 recommendations that are of particular interest to the produce industry.

While these recommendations are important, they represent only one of several steps in the rule-making process. Once FDA reviews the comments on the IFT recommendations, the government agency will submit a report to Congress which will initiate the creation of the proposed traceability regulations referenced in the Food Safety Modernization Act. Currently there is no timing available on the release of the proposed traceability regulations, but the PTI will work to keep the produce community up to date as information becomes available.

FDA has extended the comment period on the report through July 3, 2013

News: Buyer Working Group Update

The PTI Buyer Working Group continues to grow with representatives from Aldi, Inc., Food Lion, Four Seasons Produce, Inc., Glazier Foods Company, Liberty Fruit Company, Loffredo Fresh Produce Co., Inc., Praters Foods, PRO*ACT, Publix Super Markets, Royal Foodservice, Inc., Safeway, The Kroger Company, United Texas, LLC and Wal-Mart Stores. The group is currently developing a best practice document for the use of the hybrid pallet tag label for buyers. If your organization is scanning hybrid pallet tag labels inbound, your experience and solutions to overcoming challenges can be helpful in the creation of this best practice document, so please contact Teri Miller at Delhaize America or Ed Treacy at PMA, co-chairs of the PTI Buyer Working Group, with you suggestions.

News: Alpine Fresh Touts PTI Progress

In late January following the International Produce Traceability Initiative & Food Safety Seminar held in Lima, Peru, Dan Vaché, Vice President of Supply Chain Management at United Fresh, travelled with Peter Hill, Food Safety Director of Alpine Fresh in Miami, to see two of their asparagus packing facilities in full operation. Alpine Fresh, a grower, packer and shipper of fresh asparagus, has implemented a comprehensive food safety program and PTI recommendations.

“The implementation of the PTI at the Alpine Fresh Ica facility, including the use of hybrid pallet tag, was exceptional,” said Vaché. “It’s evident that team members at Alpine Fresh understand the importance of traceability in conjunction with their food safety program. The momentum and implementation of the PTI continues to expand and international suppliers reap benefits from their investments in food safety and the PTI.”

Peter Hill has helped lead Alpine Fresh in their journey to PTI compliance for more than a year, and he commented: “With the release of the proposed FSMA rules, Alpine Fresh wants to be proactive and stay one step ahead. Food safety and effective whole chain traceability go hand in hand in protecting our consumers. At the end of the day, what’s really important to us is that our final customers have a safe, healthy, and positive experience and are confident to continue consuming produce in the future.”

News: Traceability News from Canada

Horticulture Industry in Québec

Jane Proctor, CPMA Vice President of Policy and Issues Management, spoke recently about the PTI at a Horticulture Week event in Québec, hosted by the Québec Horticulture Industry and the Union des producteurs d’agricole (UPA). The Québec industry is very engaged in traceability and, through UPA and Agri-Tracebility Québec, has committed to pilot programs using PTI as the model.

Results from one such pilot project, initiated by the Comité sectorial sur la traçabilité en horticulture (CSTH,) for the identification and traceability of lettuce, recognizes PTI as an essential consideration in the identification process. The complete report is available here.

Regulatory Modernization

Like the current efforts around FSMA in the United States, the Canadian government is conducting regulatory modernization through the Safe Food for Canadians Act. The Act includes significant consideration for food safety modernization and specific efforts to that end center around traceability. CPMA is heavily engaged with its government partners to ensure that produce industry needs are recognized within the policy development process.

Events: United Fresh and GS1 US Upcoming Conferences to Highlight PTI

Two important industry events featuring sessions on the Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI) and The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) will take place this spring:

Action: Call for PTI Case Studies

The PTI Communications Working Group is always looking for implementation stories of PTI Milestones to share with the broader produce community. Submit story ideas to any of the contacts listed on the PTI website.

Action: A Picture is Worth 1000 Words

To demonstrate that the PTI continues to move forward, PTI volunteers are lending their photos to the “PTI Picture Gallery.” See some photos below or view the growing gallery here. To share your photos of people applying or scanning PTI labels at your facilities, please e-mail your .jpeg or .png files to [email protected].

Scanning Boxes img
PTI labels on boxes on pallet img

News: Select Articles Discussing PTI Progress

The following is a selection of recent news articles and editorials reporting on the work of PTI volunteers.

The Packer: March 5, 2013: “If you made investments with PTI so far, you should read this report with relief because it is very much substantiates the methodology of PTI.”

Food Safety News: March 5, 2013: “The produce industry has been looking forward to these traceability recommendations to make sure that we can move confidently with the traceability best practices that we have collectively developed in the [Produce Traceability Initiative].”

The Packer: March 8, 2013: “Produce companies know the Food Safety Modernization Act will affect their businesses, but those who invested early in PTI may see their work pay off.”