( Courtesy Produce Traceabiity Initiative )

The Produce Traceability Initiative has added/upgrade four tools for the industry to support traceability implementation.

The tools, according to a news release, are:

  • Canada/U.S. Harmonized Case Label;
  • Revised Best Practices for Formatting Case Labels
  • Template for Sharing Traceback Data with regulators; and
  • Updated Advance Ship Notice (ASN).

“As the Canadian industry strives for compliance with the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations and the U.S. industry prepares for the September release of draft Food Safety and Modernization Act traceability-related regulations, traceability is increasingly a focus across the supply chain and with consumers,” Doug Grant, executive vice president and chief operations officer at The Oppenheimer Group and PTI chairman, said in a news release. “These new and updated resources support a renewed commitment to traceability efforts and bring clarity and harmonization to the tools that support traceability.”

The PTI is supported by the Produce Marketing Association, United Fresh Produce Association, the Canadian Produce Marketing Association and GS1 US.

The Harmonized Case Label comes from a process to design a label accepted by grocery and foodservice buyers in Canada and the U.S., according to the release, and also meets buyer and regulatory requirements and GS1 standards. The effort included discussions with and confirmation of support by buyers.

The Produce Traceback Template was initiated as part of the Romaine Task Force, and finalized by PTI working groups, according to the release. It’s designed to transmit traceability data to regulators in a traceback investigation.

“The template was developed with guidance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for produce companies to better manage responses to inquiries about potentially harmful products in the supply chain, regardless of whether or not they are PTI compliant,” according to the release. “The tool is designed to be used by companies of varying sizes who are at any point in their traceability journey.”

This summer, the PTI groups will use a pilot program to determine how the Produce Traceback Template can help the food industry to align on traceability best practices and “for interoperability and regulatory requirements of the future,” according to the release.

The PTI Best Practices for Formatting Case Labels has been updated and includes information to enable integration into operations regardless of the commodity being packed.

The PTI also updated the Advance Ship Notice with a technical change to support electronically share commercial and traceability information among trading partners.

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