Others in the industry are weighing in on PTI with various opinions.
“I still say we’re all going in many different directions,” said Don Edgar, operations manager at Princeton, Fla.-based New Limeco LLC, which grows, packs and ships limes, mangoes, avocados and other tropical items.
“I believe there needs to be some type of legislative system in place that’s agreed upon,” he said.
Richard Lee, compliance coordinator with the Leamington-based Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers Association, rated PTI as an excellent idea, but he recognizes there are roadblocks to universal compliance.
“We applaud any initiatives that are going to assist our members to provide the safest food to our customers, but I think they face some setbacks in implementing all the milestones and being where they want to be,” he said.
Some customers are adopting the PTI initiatives; others are requiring independent third-party certification; and some seem “comfortable with the way they’ve been doing businesses over the years,” Lee said.
Retailers hold the key to universal compliance, said Gary Wishnatzki, owner of technology-centric VirtualOne and Wish Farms, both based in Plant City, Fla.
“The only way I believe it’s going to reach its objective is if the major retailers demand it,” he said.
If they don’t, some in the industry likely will be, “we’re only going to take these extra steps if we have to,” Wishnatzki said.
He said he sympathizes with that attitude, looking at it from a cost point of view.
“My company sees the value of PTI,” he said.
Others do, too, but some of them will wait until they are forced to comply, Wishnatzki said.
“It won’t get to be standard practice until it gets demanded,” he said.