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Is your company meeting Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI) guidelines? This initiative was introduced in 2009, and has been built as a roadmap to a common standard for external traceability. Implementing this initiative is a critical strategy that will help your company comply with strict food safety and supply chain regulations.

Administered by CPMA, GS1 US, PMA, and United Fresh, this universal approach to tracking produce involves:  1) Growers who want to maintain their own brand; 2) Packers who are re-branding other products; 3) Shippers, and; 3) Buyers of product who are private labeling their products.

There are seven guidelines in the PTI which should be followed when tracing produce. They are:

  1. Obtain a Company Prefix (a number obtained from the GSI Standards Organization) that uniquely identifies each company.  Visit: www.gs1us.org to see which local GS1 MO to contact.  The number of case configurations your company has will determine the length of the company prefix GS1 assigns to your company.
  2. Assign a Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) to Cases.  This is a 14-digit number made up of four (4) major components:  1. Indicator (located in the first position of the code).   2. The next 12 digits will be a combination of your GS1 Company Prefix and your Case Reference number.  3. Check Digit (based on a mathematical algorithm).  Note: Reconfigured cases being shipped directly to an individual store or restaurant does NOT need to have a new GTIN assignment.
  3. Provide GTIN Information to Buyers. Brand owners must reveal GTINs and all corresponding data to their buyers.
  4. Show Human-Readable Information on Cases. Lot or Batch numbers should be in readable form underneath the barcode. Anyone packing the cases should put this information on the cases.
  5. Encode Information in a Barcode. The 14-Digit GTIN and the Lot/Batch # must be encoded in the barcode shown on each case of produce. A standard barcode that can hold up to 48 characters is recommended.
  6. Read and Store Information on Inbound Cases.  All cases being shipped out of a facility must be stored within their systems in order for this product to be traceable. All inbound cases need to be scanned.  In accordance with the Bioterrorism Act of 2002, additional information such as bill of lading, invoice, and anything else that would also be available on the purchase order.
  7. Read and Store Information On Outbound Cases. Companies should scan and store all information pertaining to outbound cases (e.g. GTIN and Lot/Banch #s). Additional information includes all buyer/receiver contact information, product description, quantity, etc.

Here is a helpful Produce Traceability Checklist for Growers, Packers, and Shippers.

Here is a link to find educational videos, training modules, standards guidelines, webinars and on-demand learning: www.gs1us.org/resources.

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Category: Food
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Ray joined DeltaTrak in 2010 as Marketing Manager and currently holds the position of Senior Vice President of Marketing, Business Development and Chief Operating Officer of DataMark Inc.

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