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.
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.
The Leadership Council, representing 32 companies in the produce industry, met recently in conjunction with the Produce Marketing Association Fresh Summit in Anaheim, California, and decided to:
• Create a new Buyer Working Group to expedite the completion of the remaining retail/foodservice implementation steps for PTI
• Keep the PTI governance structure intact with the Leadership Council meeting twice a year and working groups utilized as needed
• Maintain progress of supply-side PTI implementation
• Maintain industry education and communications via the PTI website and other channels as needed