Michael Agostini, Senior Director, Produce, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc, accepted the position of Leadership Council co-chair as Cathy Green Burns resigned from this volunteer post due to increased work commitments as President of Food Lion.
“PTI is clearly better off today than it was four years ago when we started, and that is due in no small part to Cathy’s leadership,” said Agostini. “We should celebrate our success as we have collectively moved our industry to embrace and understand traceability with 229 members participating in our working groups developing best practice and guidance documents in support of our milestones.”
Agostini is responsible for the merchandising of key produce categories at Wal-Mart’s US Supercenters and Neighborhood Markets, which currently total more than 3,000 retail stores nationwide. He also leads Wal-Mart’s produce technology efforts, which seek to leverage technical solutions to create innovative processes for Wal-Mart’s produce supply chain. A veteran of over 39 years in the produce and grocery industry, Agostini has recently served on the PMA Board of Directors and as Chair of the PMA Supply Chain Efficiencies Committee.
TK: Is this "buyer-centered implementation" actually making a difference? There hasn't been much publicity about the progress of the buyer working group. What will FDA food safety rules mean to the PTI effort?
One of the frequently asked questions on the FDA's website relates to traceability.
PT.3.4 When will FDA begin developing recordkeeping requirements for high-risk foods, as directed by FSMA?
Once the product tracing pilots are completed, and other data are gathered, the Agency will begin the development of a proposed rule.
PT.3.5 Will FDA expand requirements for recordkeeping requirements to foods that are not designated as high risk?
No. FSMA specifies that additional recordkeeping requirements developed under section 204 must apply only to high risk foods. FDA will be seeking input from stakeholders in considering whether to develop voluntary guidance for foods beyond those designated as high risk to enhance product tracing in the supply chain.
PT.3.6 Will FDA recommend certain product tracing technologies either for the pilot or for future regulations and potential guidance?
FDA does not plan to recommend specific software or systems at any of these stages. Rather, FDA will focus on the elements of a product tracing system that enable rapid and effective tracing of food products. Under section 204, FDA is not permitted to prescribe specific technologies to maintain records in the context of the additional recordkeeping requirements for high-risk foods.
TK: What do readers think? Is PTI still on track? Is "buyer-centered implementation" actually working, or merely bluster? What is the future of PTI as it relates to FDA recordkeeping requirements on high risk foods?