LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. — The trade organizations that administer the Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI) recently underscored the need for the produce industry to continue developing the program, even though the Food and Drug Administration will be developing its own traceability system under the recently enacted Food Safety Modernization Act.
The PTI was launched in 2007 by the Produce Marketing Association, the United Fresh Produce Association and the Canadian Produce Marketing Association, to develop industry-standard practices for tracing produce through the supply chain. But under the Food Safety Modernization Act, the FDA will conduct pilots on track-and-trace systems over the first half of 2011 for both produce and packaged goods, report to Congress on the findings within 18 months, and ultimately establish a traceability system.
“It will be many months to years before implementing regulations [of the act] are in place,” said a release issued by the PMA, United Fresh, CPMA and GS1 US here. “In the interim, industry will have opportunities to provide feedback during that rulemaking process, including showing FDA a working traceability system.”
Moreover, the groups said, “the costs — human and economic — of a foodborne illness outbreak are too high, and consumer confidence in the safety of fresh produce has already suffered too much, to wait to implement industrywide changes.”