The Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI) is setting new standards for labeling and traceability in the field. After reading this short article, you’ll have an overview of what’s needed to make it work for your harvest operation.
The Produce Traceability Initiative requires every case of produce to display a label with both human readable and barcode information showing your Lot Number and your Global Trade Identification Number (GTIN). The GTIN identifies the specific product in the case.
You must be able to internally trace the Lot Number to a specific location (grower, ranch, field) and pack date. You’ll need to maintain this information electronically so you can track which lots and items are shipped to each customer and share this information electronically with your customers or U.S. FDA when needed.
What’s Needed in the Field
Here is an overview of technology you need to make this work for you in the field:
- Software that allows you to track harvest information and generate accurate labels. This software needs to integrate with your other management systems to share traceability information.
- Barcode labels that work for all of your packaging and pre-cooling operations. Special label materials may be needed for different temperatures, surface types etc.
- Barcode printers that work for you in the office and field.
- Rugged mobile computers that can capture harvest data in the field.
- Connection to your network. Everything you’re doing for traceability in the field needs gets communicated to your system. You can then react quickly to daily harvest changes.
It’s important to realize that creating a successful PTI compliance system is much more complicated than simply installing software or buying labels.
PTI compliance requires a compete solution able to accurately track fresh produce from harvest in the field all the way through shipment to your customers.
Most importantly, it needs to be practical for your operation.