Wal-Mart sets PTI label deadline for suppliers - The Packer

Wal-Mart sets PTI label deadline for suppliers

06/04/2013 01:00:00 PM
Coral Beach

In its letter, Wal-Mart included examples of the labels the chain is requiring. Everything from the size of the label to the placement of information and the fonts and point sizes of type on the label are specified.

Treacy said the labels are identical to the industry standard for reusable plastic containers, which should make the requirement easier for suppliers.

“I was there when Loblaws, Safeway and Kroger developed the RPC label standards,” Treacy said. “They had been 2-by-10 inches and were required on two sides. Now with the new size they are less awkward and expensive and only have to be on one side.”

Treacy said his advice to Wal-Mart suppliers who are not yet using PTI-compliant labels is to start working on the transition “yesterday.”

“If people think they can wait until October because the deadline is Nov. 1, they are going to be surprised,” Treacy said. “It takes some time to get it right. Some suppliers are reporting it takes multiple tries to find a solution that works. It’s taking most people three to six months.”

Although the PTI-label requirement is only for Wal-Mart U.S. and Sam’s Club, those in the Canadian fresh produce industry are watching the situation closely.

Jane Proctor, vice president for policy and issue management for the Canadian Produce Marketing Association, said current work in the Canadian government regarding food safety and traceability will likely lead to similar requirements for suppliers. She said the Wal-Mart announcement will encourage implementation north of the border.

“Implementation of traceability based on standards is crucial to assure (both) governments of the commitment industry has made to the safety of the food supply and ensure there are no trade disruptions as produce flows between our two countries,” Proctor said.

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Ontario  |  June, 05, 2013 at 10:32 AM

Case labeling is a good start but unfortunately is also the end for product traceability. One product is removed from cases and dumped into bins with product from other packers, it is almost impossible to trace. I applaud wal-mart for its efforts, but they need to mandate "Item Level Traceability." This technology exists and has been available for years. Being able to print lot codes, dates and grower identification data directly on the PLU sticker is already being implemented by packers throughout the US and Canada.

USA  |  June, 05, 2013 at 10:52 AM

The only way for GS1 henchmans PMA, UF and WG to get this costly and useless PTI off the ground is forcing their retail members for force it down. In order to run the retailers check-out faster, everbody down to the grower has to pay for their convinience and money saving. FSMA doesn't require anything like this as it only helps Walmart and a few others.

Texas  |  June, 05, 2013 at 11:26 AM

PTI will only work when the individual product has a PLU PTI NUMBER STICKER on each piece fruit to protect the customer since there can be more than one grower produce inside a case of fruit anything less than " Item level Traceability "will be fruitless in an outbreak.

June, 06, 2013 at 06:22 AM

How do you feel this will "protect" someone?

Produce Guy    
Texas  |  June, 06, 2013 at 07:33 AM

Do the people who come up with these brilliant ideas work in the same produce industry as the rest of us?? Here comes another song and dance that (good)growers and suppliers will have to learn/master and pass FOR FREE to major retailers. I say "good" suppliers because they left just enough loopholes in their law for bad non-comliant suppliers to drive truckloads of cheap produce through them. I guess somebody has to continue to subsidize the retailer's price war on each other, right? I can't wait!!!

Prduce Guy    
Texas  |  June, 06, 2013 at 07:44 AM

What happened to my comment??

Texas  |  June, 06, 2013 at 07:48 AM

Oh yeah, and they want the grower and packer to pay for all this while asking them to bend over and give them cheapo prices. These people have no end. The real problem is we're teaching people to be voracious consumers rather than smart consumers. We need to teach people to only buy seasonal produce, whatever is available nearest you will be the freshest and safest. I don't care about a Southamerican or Oriental fruit, and if I do, I will have to pay a high price for it because only a few can bring it safely to my table. Please, let's rethink the whole business before we attempt to implement practices that only benefit those who create them.

Ontario  |  June, 06, 2013 at 09:32 AM

The cost to apply this "item-level trace-ability" solution is pennies compared to millions of dollars that could be saved by not banning all produce because we cannot identify where it came from, as in the recent case of the Florida tomatoes and other fresh produce disasters over the past few years.

CA  |  June, 06, 2013 at 01:22 PM

Put as many stickers and bar codes as you can on every box. It's the only way.

Produce Guy    
Texas  |  June, 07, 2013 at 08:22 AM

Again, the concept is great. Let's do things better! Who does not want safer and more sustainable produce?? The problem is the hipocracy behind it. All I hear is retail buyers comparing apples to oranges and asking why your comapny can not match the price of some company who is not following the rules. Four pounds of bananas for a buck or 1 pinapple for a buck or 10 peices of corn for a buck or 3 pounds of tomatoes for a buck is neither sustainable nor compatible with safer anything. My point is if we are going to come up with new laws: a)Make no exceptions as to who has to follow them and b)Retailers and consumers: Pay for them! A better way of life is not free

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