Produce Traceability and the Food Safety Modernization Act


Signed into law in 2011 by President Barack Obama, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) has been called, "the most sweeping reform of our food safety laws in more than 70 years." According to the FDA, the FSMA, "aims to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus from responding to contamination to preventing it."

At present, the exact details of the FSMA remain under wraps, however, experts are certain that produce traceability will be a critical component. As a result, companies that are already compliant with the Produce Traceability Initiative will undoubtedly have an advantage over their less-equipped competitors.

Across the country, a number of high-profile supermarket chains, such as Wal-Mart, Whole Foods and Publix, have already begun asking that their suppliers use a standardized case label that includes a Global Trade Item Number, lot and batch numbers and pack or sell-by dates. In fact, representatives at Whole Foods already claim to be seeing tangible advantages after they implemented their produce tracking solutions.

At the company, they've armed their team members with the ability to rate produce from suppliers as it is received. From "good" to "best," the ratings are then displayed to customers who can use the team members' expertise to guide them in selecting the best possible produce.

Dan Vache of the United Fresh Produce Association lauds the PTI as a much-needed advancement in the industry, saying, "Produce has been late to the table with technology, compared to center store, but we're getting there." He stresses, however, that it's critical that owners and managers get on board early to learn about the advantages and limitations of their system so that they can "answer questions intelligently about every product in their department."

With FSMA's final ruling due between August and October of this year, T3 Tracking encourages all members of the agriculture industry to heed Vache's advice. With our T3 Produce Scan inventory manager, we provide an unparalleled ability to track, integrate and report on the status of your produce. Don't get left behind, contact one of our professionals today to start leveraging the power of produce traceability!

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