U.S. fresh produce suppliers under pressure to track stock
The Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI) has released scorecards to help businesses implement their programs as more buyers and suppliers get on board to help improve food safety and accountability.
Wal-mart is piloting the PTI in its U.S. stores with three of its major suppliers next month, while Safeway and SuperValu will be conducting trials this month.
Publix and State Brothers told suppliers to implement produce traceability initiatives by February and March this year respectively. Ahold has said they want their trading partners to be compliant by the end of 2012.
PMA supply chain efficiencies vice president Ed Treacy, said the Delhaize-owned Food Lion brand, which has 1,200 stores in 11 Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states, has already gone live with a PTI distribution centre.
German supermarket chain Aldi is waiting for its programming to be finalized but is on schedule for PTI to go live in its U.S. supermarkets early next year.
Treacy said 10 out of the 14 major grocer chains he had spoken to were working on implementation.
"It's exactly where I thought it would be at this point and time. We want everyone to be part of it. It will be the buyers who drive it. When they demand it, their trading suppliers will miraculously figure out how to do it really well."
Treacy said the PMA has published scorecards this month charting fresh produce suppliers' progress with PTI.
Chiquita/Fresh Express, Del Monte Fresh Produce, the Oppenheimer Group and Subsole S.A. are among the 18 fresh produce suppliers that have already embraced PTI.
"Companies that have implemented it have seen great benefits over how to improve their business.
"We are trying to avoid category killer recalls. If the authorities have confidence we know where everything is they won't ask for a general recall."
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Photo: Subsole S.A.