Produce Traceability Initiative to Offer Comments on Food and Drug Administration’s Product Tracing Pilot Report by Institute of Food Technologists
Four Leading Industry Groups to Collaborate and Collect Industry Feedback


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 4, 2013 – The Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI), designed to help the produce industry maximize the effectiveness of current traceback procedures, is currently developing a response to the Institute of Food Technologists’ (IFT) 10 recommendations released by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the document entitled Pilot Projects for Improving Product Tracing along the Food Supply System Final Report.

The PTI community with the coordination of its four administering organizations (Canadian Produce Marketing Association, GS1 US, Produce Marketing Association, and United Fresh Produce Association) will work to collect industry feedback and commentary on each of the 10 recommendations outlined in the report.

The FDA is now seeking comments on the pilot project final report as a next step in the process of submitting the findings to Congress and developing proposed traceability rules in support of the Food Safety Modernization Act. The volunteer members of PTI have been working toward whole chain case-level electronic traceability in this industry-led initiative for more than five years with the active involvement of industry stakeholders.

“The produce industry has been looking forward to these traceability recommendations to make sure that we can move confidently with the traceability best practices that we have collectively developed in the PTI,” said Mike Agostini, Senior Director, Produce, Wal-Mart Stores, co-chair of the PTI Leadership Council. “Our industry community is excited to have the opportunity to delve into the details of the report and provide feedback to FDA.”

The pilot projects were designed to explore and demonstrate methods for rapid and effective tracking and tracing of food, including types of data that are useful for tracing and ways to connect the various points in the supply chain.

“Many of us in the grower/packer/shipper community are pleased to see that the IFT recommends a uniform set of recordkeeping requirements, encourages current industry-led initiatives, and suggests the development of standardized electronic mechanisms for the reporting of traceability data,” said Sabrina Pokomandy, Marketing and Public Relations Manager at JemD Farms, who also co-chairs the PTI Communications Working Group. “These recommendations are in alignment with the goals and vision of PTI and help us move forward with industry-wide traceability implementations.”

About the PTI

The Produce Traceability Initiative, sponsored by Canadian Produce Marketing Association, GS1 US, Produce Marketing Association and United Fresh Produce Association, is designed to help the industry maximize the effectiveness of current traceback procedures, while developing a standardized industry approach to enhance the speed and efficiency of traceability systems for the future. The PTI’s bold vision outlines a course of action to achieve supply chain-wide adoption of electronic traceability of every case of produce by the year 2012.

About the Canadian Produce Marketing Association

Based in Ottawa, Ontario, the Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA) is a not-for-profit organization representing over 770 Canadian and International member companies that are active in the marketing of fresh fruits and vegetables in Canada from the farm gate to the dinner plate. CPMA members represent all segments of the fresh produce industry. CPMA's vision is to enable and lead the produce industry by enhancing the market and facilitating trade of fresh fruits and vegetables for its members. For more information about CPMA, please visit www.cpma.ca.

About GS1 US

GS1 US is a not-for-profit organization that brings industry communities together to solve value-chain problems through the adoption and implementation of GS1 Standards. More than 200,000 businesses in 25 industries rely on GS1 US for trading-partner collaboration and for maximizing the efficiency, visibility, security and sustainability of their business processes. They achieve these benefits through GS1 US solutions based on GS1 global unique numbering and identification systems, barcodes, Electronic Product Codeª-enabled RFID, data synchronization, and electronic information exchange. GS1 US also manages the United Nations Standard Products and Services Code¨ (UNSPSC¨). For more information, visit www.GS1US.org.

About Produce Marketing Association (PMA)

Produce Marketing Association is the leading trade association representing companies from every segment of the global produce and floral supply chain. PMA helps members grow by providing business solutions that expand business opportunities and increase sales and consumption. For more information, visit www.pma.com.

About United Fresh Produce Association (United Fresh)

Founded in 1904, the United Fresh Produce Association serves companies at the forefront of the global fresh and fresh-cut produce industry, including growers, shippers, fresh-cut processors, wholesalers, distributors, retailers, foodservice operators, industry suppliers and allied associations. From its headquarters in Washington, D.C. and Western Regional office in Salinas, Calif., United Fresh and its members work year-round to make a difference for the produce industry by driving policies that increase consumption of fresh produce, shaping critical legislative and regulatory action, providing scientific and technical leadership in food safety, quality assurance, nutrition and health, and developing educational programs and business opportunities to assist member companies in growing successful businesses. For more information, visit www.unitedfresh.org.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:

CPMA: Lianne Wand, lwand@cpma.ca, 613-226-4187, ext 225

GS1 US: Krisztina Vida, kvida@gs1us.org, 609-620-8042

PMA: Meg Miller, mmiller@pma.com, 302-738-7100, ext 3031

United Fresh: Ray Gilmer, rgilmer@unitedfresh.org, 202-303-3425