Meanwhile, some industry representatives called into question the heavy cost of item-level traceability technology for small growers.
The PTI is case level, but some traceabilility products companies are pushing item-level traceback because of consumer demand.
Gregory Fritz, president of Produce Packaging Inc., Cleveland, called the Produce Traceability Initiative a “boondoggle” that creates an excessive cost burden for small businesses.
Fritz described new costs to adopt a traceability program to meet customer requirements including $8,500 to purchase a GS1 number; $800 to renew it yearly; $10,000 for new computers, printers and software; $18,000 a year to print the labels and a full-time staffer salary of at least $40,000.
“The last few years, my customers have been demanding to pay less. They are not going to agree to pay more for traceability,” Fritz said. “I can see the writing on the wall, and if PTI must move forward, its cost burden must be lessened.”