Knowing Your Roots

Posts tagged ‘Farm Perspectives’

Farm Perspectives – Produce Traceability Initiative

 

Many years ago there was a connection between the consumer and the farmer and that connection created a level of trust.  Before the days of large national retailers local produce was a way of life and it was likely that you knew the farmer that grew the food that was being sold at your corner grocery store.  If you didn’t know him, you knew of him and where he was from.

As retailers grew, so did farms.  Instead of selling produce locally the geography of markets expanded, national chains developed distribution centers and produce was shipped further and further away from where it was grown.  This expansion created a disconnect between the producer and the consumer despite the fact that the produce was just as healthy and just as good for you.

Traceability - Bushmans Inc BlogThe Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI) is designed to do many things, but one of the most important is to help foster that connection between where the food is grown and the consumer.  By being able to trace food back to its place of birth a consumer has a much higher comfort level with that produce and in the consumer’s mind creates that connection back to the land, which is something we should support and embrace as producers.

Of course there are other practical reasons to embrace PTI, the least of which is quickly becoming mandatory when doing business with larger retailers. Being able to trace produce back to the field level is no longer a luxury.  It is quickly becoming a requirement to participate in the marketplace.  Growers who resist implementing PTI will ultimately find themselves on the outside looking in and will ultimately have difficulty finding outlets for their product.    (more…)

Farm Perspectives – Produce Traceability for Beginners

Grower Blog 1 - 7 1 2014

When people refer to the Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI), they are talking about the guidelines set for all produce companies to achieve case-level electronic traceability for their fresh produce. Case-level electronic traceability means an individual case of produce can be traced back to its packaging location, grower and more just by scanning a barcode. The seven guidelines in the PTI ensure that all companies, including growers, packagers and retailers, are speaking the same language when it comes to tracing produce. The barcodes placed on cases now all contain the same information, such as packaging date, lot number and other pertinent information. RPE became PTI compliant on Jan. 1, 2014.

The main purpose of produce traceability is to protect consumer health and safety. Although potatoes have never had a large-scale recall and are a low-risk produce item as they are cooked before consumption, it is important to be prepared.

Although manual recall systems may work well for a company with a basic product, for a produce company that is sending potatoes from one lot to 15 customers in 27 different packages, a manual recall simply isn’t fast enough. That’s when software like the barcodes implemented by the PTI is necessary to effectively execute a recall, especially when a company has only a two-hour window to do so.   (more…)

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