With increased buyer implementation of traceability systems promised soon, the Produce Traceability Initiative leadership council reported buyers are seeing an increasing percentage of produce cases marked with PTI labels.

The council its biannual meeting in mid-May in conjunction with the United Fresh expo in San Diego. Buyers estimate that between 22% and 50% of produce cases arriving at distribution centers have PTI labels, according to a news release from PTI sponsors Produce Marketing Association, GS1 US, Canadian Produce Marketing Association and the United Fresh Produce Association.

“The great turnout and participation at our leadership council meeting demonstrate the industry’s continued commitment to PTI implementation,” Mike Agostini, senior director of produce at Walmart Stores Inc., and co-chairman of the PTI Leadership Council, said in the release. “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.”

At the meeting in mid-May, the council discussed PTI progress and reviewed a pilot project report about the benefits of using Advance Ship Notices as an alternative to hybrid pallet tags to better share Global Trade Item Numbers, batch lot numbers and other data, according to the release.

“Based on industry experiences shared by both suppliers and buyers, PTI Leadership Council members agree that using Advance Ship Notices with Electronic Data Interchange or a simple flat file format is a promising method of sharing traceability information among trading partners,” Doug Grant, co-chair of the leadership council and senior vice president and chief operations officer of the Oppenheimer Group said in the release.

Oppenheimer recently conducted a pilot using advance ship notices and will publish the results in the next few weeks, according to the release.

The council also reviewed comments that PMA, United Fresh, CPMA and GS1 US expect to submit to the Food and Drug Administration in response to the traceability recommendations made by the Institute of Food Technologists. Those comments are expected to be published on the PTI website prior to the FDA’s submission deadline of July 3, according to the release.