DALLAS — The Produce Traceability Initiative is starting to catch on in 2012, the year it’s supposed to be fully implemented.

But it’s finding more adoption south of the U.S.

“Mexico and Latin America has embraced PTI more than Canada and the U.S. because it’s so critical to their economies,” said Phil Penny, vice president of information technology for Pro*Act, Monterey, Calif.

Penny spoke at a May 2 workshop in the Wholesaler-Distributor series at United Fresh 2012.

Penny estimated that fewer than 20% of cases handled by Pro*Act companies are PTI-compliant using Global Trade Identification Numbers, and he considers his company among those that have bought into PTI.

Casey Precourt, project manager for Charlie’s Produce, Seattle, reminded the audience that PTI isn’t just about food safety, but it’s also about investing in good business.

He said his company knew it needed to get a warehouse management system that was user-friendly and used voice-pick technology.
After a more-than $1 million purchase, he said the return on investment is already evident.

In the first year, Charlie’s saw a 0.25% improvement on mis-picks in the warehouse, which translated to about $500,000 in savings, Precourt said.

“We’re no longer a see-and-do warehouse,” he said.

Both agreed that large retailers would still drive industry adoption.