Potato Grower

January 2014

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information on every case of produce as the case moves through each link in the supply chain—external traceability. What are the current traceability requirements? All companies are required by the Bioterrorism Act of 2002 to have an internal process of record-keeping: one up and one down traceability. There are not specific guidelines on how the records are maintained. As it stands, tracebacks involve mounds of paperwork and interpretations of each company's unique definition of where and to whom products were shipped. We know that each party of the supply chain names the same case of product as something different and the result is a full end-to-end trace that can take weeks, or even longer. What does PTI suggest? Essentially, the program promotes a common identifier throughout the entire supply chain. Unified language will encourage improvements in quality, risk management and operational efficiencies. In addition, the Produce Traceability Initiative has suggested guidelines that include the electronic storage of records. These efforts will also help government agencies like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to maneuver more quickly when investigating recalls, allowing the industry to get back to work as soon as possible. Who does this affect? All members of the supply chain will benefit from this program. In addition to the PTI being the main driver of reducing the economic impact of a recall, growers, packers and shippers can leverage their PTI investment to enhance or complement their current in-house food safety program. They can also use the barcoded labels on cases and pallets to increase operational efficiencies as well as gaining compliance with customers' requests. An effective traceability program will also work to protect sales by allowing for quick verification that products are not associated with the source of an outbreak. Early adopters of the program have reported positive results, including the reduction of quality claims and more accurate shipping. One grower began The PTI tracks produce all the way down the supply chain, from the field to packaging. www.potatogrower.com 41

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