March/April 2019 - 6

PTI Progress
By Zeke Jennings
Managing Editor
involving romaine lettuce last year
has tracking and traceability at the
forefront of the produce industry
once again. While there is nothing
good about E. coli contamination,
the instances do prompt examination
of where traceability technology and
application has come since the 2006
spinach outbreak that claimed the lives
of four people, including 2-year-old
Kyle Allgood.
Following that 2006 outbreak,
the produce industry collectively
got together and said, " We can't let
this happen again. " The Produce
Traceability Initiative (PTI) eventually
was created by the Produce Marketing
Association (PMA), United Fresh
Produce Association and the Canadian
Produce Marketing Association.
Barcode standards organization GS1
eventually became the fourth organizer
of the voluntary initiative.
As PMA's Vice President of Supply
Chain and Sustainability, Ed Treacy is
one of the authorities on PTI, which
now has dozens of participating
companies. Produce Processing
recently caught up with Treacy to
talk about the state of traceability and
where it's headed.
PP: What percentage of produce
shipped has PTI-compliant barcoded
ET: Whe r e we ' r e at wi t h
implementing PTI is there is around
60 to 65 percent of all cases in the
U.S. supply chain that are labeled with
barcoded PTI-compliant labels. We've
done a good job on the supply side.
We're not there yet - and I'll never
rest until we're at 100 percent - but
we are getting some good traction.
This is a voluntary initiative. We have
learned from the last two romaine
outbreaks and there has been a lot
of industry collaboration with the
CDC and the FDA using the romaine
issues in saying 'OK, we're still not
there, we still need to do a better job
of connecting the dots and being able
to identify the source quicker.'
PP: What have been the major
ET: You've probably seen clips of
Frank Yiannas (formerly) of Walmart
talking about blockchain and what
they're doing with IBM. ... Even with
PTI in place, he still felt it was taking
too long to do a traceback investigation.
IBM created the Food Trust Network,
which is a blockchain-enabled solution
for supply chain visibility. They did a
test prior to using it and it took them
six days, 18 hours and 26 minutes to
do a traceback on a container of sliced

March/April 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of March/April 2019

March/April 2019 - 1
March/April 2019 - 2
March/April 2019 - 3
March/April 2019 - 4
March/April 2019 - 5
March/April 2019 - 6
March/April 2019 - 7
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