Buyer centered implementation of PTI: All bluster?

01/22/2013 08:04:00 AM
Tom Karst

National Editor Tom Karst Will the Produce Traceability Initiative be the blueprint for future industry progress in traceability? Why or Why not?

That's the question I posed to the Fresh Produce Industry Discussion Group this week, and I'm curious to see the industry reaction to the question.

Another interesting question related to traceability on the discussion group was the topic of item-level traceability.

Are we seeing a trend toward per piece traceability or just case packs regarding PTI?

Nine comments so far on that question. Here are a few excerpts:

From a European consultant:

"Piece traceability becomes not a trend but is already a trend. costumers want to know everything from the food they are eating.This start at the producer and goes on until the store."

From a U.S. shipper: 

"We are a long way off from implementing PTI at a case level, both operationally and philosophically. With regard to consumers wanting to know who produced the food, then why is private label the biggest trend in grocery? Try to find out who produces the private label products at Trader Joes, or Aldi or Topco or Unified Grocers."

From a U.S. solutions provider:

"PTI is gaining serious momentum due to buyer involvement. However, FDA PTI will likely be PTI plus, as the PTI concepts will likely be forced to the item level by the FDA."


From a South African retailer:

"Do all customers want to know where all their product comes from? Well not necessarily, however, this quickly changes when there is an issue with the product - my experience has always been that the consumer takes a keen interest in where the product comes from when they are directly impacted (quality, in particular waste/rots accounts for 90% of complaints. Other major drivers of customer attention include food safety, and socio/political issues.)"

TK: So Just where is PTI right now? Is it adrift or making headway? The latest press release from the PTI website had news of buyer-centered implementation. From the release:

Acknowledging that significant progress has been made to reach the Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI) goals over the last four years, the PTI Leadership Council has agreed that a buyer-centered implementation focus is needed to ensure continued industry movement toward case-level traceability.


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Ted Schultze    
Maple Grove, MN  |  January, 24, 2013 at 05:45 PM

Item level is a quagmire. Think about marking every grape, banana, etc. The cost would be prohibitive. It's a figment of a well intentioned imagination based upon some ones goal to sell something. Getting to case level trace is affordable and traceable. But item level, give me a break.

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