Teri Miller, category manager for Food Lion LLC, Salisbury, N.C., said the chain works closely with its grower-shipper suppliers to implement Produce Traceability Initiative-compliant GS1-128 labels and Global Trade Identification Numbers for their case lots.
“We are not going to make it hard on you and make you comply with the milestones,” she said. “We want you to understand we are working on this. You walk me through your process, and I’ll walk you through ours’. What’s best for Shuman Bros. may not necessarily be best for B.C. Hot House. What’s best for To-Jo Mushroom may be completely different from the citrus industry. Let’s get together and work through this. We will do whatever we need to support that.”
Mark Shuman, general manager of Vidalia and sweet onion grower-shipper Shuman Produce Inc., Reidsville, who imports Peruvian onions through the Port of Savannah, said human error remains the biggest challenge growers experience in implementing a food safety program for packaged produce.
“It’s not just about making the delivery,” Shuman said. “It’s about empowering your retail partner to push that product through their store and to be able to gain an increase in their business and get their customer back in that store again the next week so we can have the P.O. again the next week and the week after that. That’s what the Produce Traceability Initiative does for us: it builds a level of trust and confidence.”
The yearly North American Raspberry & Blackberry Conference also met in conjunction with the Savannah meeting which was co-sponsored by the South Carolina Peach Council.