“He understands we are serious about reaching out to the industry and we want to better understand — in this case — citrus industry concerns,” Stenzel said.
He said that United Fresh is putting together an agenda for its show in Las Vegas to help industry understanding.
“He is not the only one in the industry that has got concerns,” Stenzel said. “One of the things we are grappling with is trying to understand the hurdles people are running into.”
Stenzel said talk about moving the PTI milestone timeline is premature and said the focus should be on understanding the issues.
Terry Humfeld, vice president of member relations for PMA, said the letter shows there is confusion and uncertainty in the industry about PTI and what it is designed to do.
A Feb. 19 PTI steering committee meeting in Dallas addressed the need to do a better job of informing the industry, he said.
“I frankly wasn’t surprised because I know there are a lot of questions in the industry about how to go about implementing PTI,” Humfeld said. However, Humfeld said there have been no other discussions from other trade groups about postponing the timeline.
“There is simply a lot of misinformation and information in the marketplace that isn’t correct and well understood, and I think we need to work through those processes first before we begin to change dates arbitrarily.”
Stenzel said the Senate might work on food safety reform legislation in April, and it’s important to continue addressing traceability concerns.
Chris Schlect, president of Yakima, Wash.-based Northwest Horticultural Council, said his members haven’t communicated apprehension about traceability yet, perhaps because some are waiting for national legislation to pass.