Government regulation in the form of the Food Safety Modernization Act is on its way. It’s now just a matter of time.
The sooner the FDA publishes and enforces its regulations, the sooner the public will be protected against prolonged searches for the source of contaminated food.
It’s not just up to the buyers and the government, though.
There’s a third group that can influence the implementation of PTI: us, the produce community at large.
We are educated — most growers have heard of PTI and are fairly well informed.
And we are accountable — lawyers are now starting to target growers, distributors and buyers in food recalls, citing negligence in addition to strict liability.
With the health and wellness of consumers in our hands, are we willing to stick our heads in the sand and delay implementing a proven solution to make things better?
Three years ago, the industry decided it was important enough to come together and put PTI in place by 2012.
Our initial needs and reasons haven’t changed.
What we need to do now is keep the momentum going and see the initiative through.
Ultimately, this won’t happen until either retailers require it or the FDA mandates it.
It is up to us to keep the pressure on both groups and push for a safer, more traceable produce supply chain.
Gary Fleming is vice president of strategic services for RedLine Solutions, Santa Clara, Calif.