PTI guards against guilt by association - The Packer

PTI guards against guilt by association

10/08/2012 12:17:00 PM
Tom Burfield

See related articles: Retail suppliers should prepare for PTI and Seminar dispels PTI worries

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — GS1 and Global Trade Item Numbers play key roles in the Produce Traceability Initiative and were among the topics at an Oct. 4 PTI symposium hosted by RedLine Solutions.

Gary Fleming, from left, explains PTI to Stephen Youmans and Todd Baggett..Tom BurfieldGary Fleming (from left), vice president of strategic services for RedLine Solutions and a lead architect of the Produce Traceability Initiative; Stephen Youmans, packaging analyst for California Giant Berry Farms; and Todd Baggett, founder and chief executive officer of RedLine Solutions and co-chair of the PTI Technology Working Group, discuss the PTI prior to a symposium that RedLine hosted in Santa Barbara, Calif., Oct. 4.Gary Fleming, vice president, strategic services for RedLine Solutions and a lead architect of PTI, told participants everything they needed to know about GS1 and GTINs, including some details that may surprise some grower-shippers.

GS1 is a non-profit, Brussels-based global standards company that sets the standards on which the Produce Traceability Initiative is based, he said.

GS1 corporate creates standards for identification numbers, barcodes and electronics that its 145 member organizations implement within their regions.

GTINs, which are required to implement PTI, include a company prefix that uniquely identifies a company; a reference number that the owner of the company prefix assigns to identify an item, case, location or pallet; and a check digit, which is an algorithm that ensures the accuracy of the preceding digits, Fleming said.

The 14-digit GTIN is broken down as follows:

Position 1: A packaging indicator (a number from 1 through 8);

Position 2-13: A combination of the GS1 company prefix and reference number; and

Position 14: A check digit.

The Universal Product Code company prefix ranges from six to nine digits, and the case reference number ranges from two to five digits, depending on how many different products a company produces.

The serialized shipping container codes (SSCCs) used on pallets consist of an 18-digit number broken down as follows:

Position 1: Packaging type;

Positions 2-17: A combination of the GS1 company prefix and pallet serial; and

Position 18: a check digit.

What grower-shippers may not realize, Fleming said, is that “There are certain GS1 processes that do not apply necessarily to the PTI.”

He advised grower-shippers to check the PTI website — — to determine specific PTI requirements.

He said, for example, that it is not necessary to go through GS1 to obtain GTINs.

“Growers and shippers can create their own GTIN numbers,” he said.

GTINs come in handy when the Food and Drug Administration is trying to find the source of an outbreak of foodborne illness.

“Within seconds, you’ll be able to help them with their investigation,” Fleming said.

That’s quite a difference from the past, when it might take weeks to sort through thousands of paper purchase orders stored in a filing cabinet.

“In a commodity industry like produce, we’re guilty by association,” Fleming said. “The PTI not only minimizes the amount of product that you have to pull from the supply chain, it also clears you from being guilty by association.”

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John Fulgieri    
New York  |  October, 09, 2012 at 09:25 AM

Growers and shippers can create their own GTIN numbers? That is news to us and should be great news for small vendors loathe to pay GS1 fees. needs to change wording: >>>> What is a Company Prefix? A: A Company Prefix is a number obtained from the GS1 organization that uniquely identifies your company from any other company around the world. Once you use the Company Prefix to create any subsequent number (such as a Global Trade Identification Number or GTIN – see Milestone #2), it uniquely links that number to your company.

Ted Schultze    
Maple Grove MN  |  October, 09, 2012 at 09:49 AM

Oh my goodness! The world is full of half information. Here are the facts. Every company will need their own GS1 Company Prefix. They need it one time and it's forever. If it was issued before 2002, there is no annual fee. Issued after 2002, it requires an annual fee as well. After you have your prefix, you assign your own item numbers for all levels of packaging. When it comes to the newly issued prefix, GS1 charges more for numbers which allow a larger number of item number and they factor in your annual sales as well. The price can get steeper. Alternatively, it the price is to high, there are old company prefixes available in the after market. These become available when a company goes out of business or sells off a product line. I will also say that has lots of good stuff (best practices) on it but the information is by no means complete. You really need to refer to the GS1 General Specification. V12 is the current version.

USA  |  October, 11, 2012 at 02:05 PM

What an extraordinay traceback. You can buy other companies numbers, you can make up your own numbers?!? Where can I find a number of a product that's on the shelve for 3 years? The whole PTI doesn't work and that's why stories are created to make it look good. Say it as it is: It's a number to run the cash register of the companies that are mentioned in these articles and the supplier, usually the farmer has to pay for. It has nothing to do with traceback or foodsafety no matter how stories are get twisted around.

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