Traceability guide

Case level traceability
Case level traceability brings fresh produce processors, packers, and marketers easy and rapid traceability. Implement FarmSoft in no time at all, and start reducing processing waste!

Case level traceability

Easy to deploy, farmsoft case level traceability is the best friend of any company looking to improve traceability in their food / fresh produce processing enterprise. Farmsoft delivers tangible improvements in food safety compliance and standards maintenance. Implementing farmsoft case level traceability for fresh produce processing delivers increased accuracy of traceability, easy inventory management, and can result in reduced fresh produce waste.

Farmsoft case level traceability provides dozens of formats of bar code and non bar code fruit labels to guarantee food safety.

Why implement case level traceability?

Case level traceability
Case level traceability

The Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI) Leadership Council has announced that it has agreed the fresh produce industry needs to stay on course with PTI implementations based on the use of standardized product identification with Batch or Lot Numbers, encoded in GS1-128 bar-codes on case labels for improved traceability and precise recall preparedness.

The announcement was made by the Leadership Council – which represents 32 companies in the fresh produce industry – at its semi-annual meeting last week, which took place in conjunction with FMI Connect and United Fresh 2014 in Chicago.

“The PTI Leadership Council continues to encourage companies large and small in the produce industry to follow PTI best practices,” said Mike Agostini, senior category director for produce at Wal-Mart Stores, and co-chair of the PTI Leadership Council. “In just seven months of PTI implementation at Wal-Mart, we have seen significant increases in PTI case labels on products, and we are already seeing important benefits in supply chain efficiencies resulting from our implementation.”

The Council also emphasized that industry-wide adoption of the use of Advance Ship Notice, an electronic data interchange transaction for exchanging traceability data, as well as the outbound recording of the GS1-128 bar-code data on cases of produce from distribution centers to retail stores and food service operations, are critical to ensuring that the vision of PTI is fully realized.

Case level traceability

FarmSoft case level traceability gives instant traceability to case, carton, pallet, shipping container, shipment and more.

FarmSoft case level traceability can be implemented in any fresh produce processing, packing, or marketing business.
Fresh produce case level traceability
Throughout the FarmSoft fresh produce management system, case level traceability is being maintained at all levels. Incoming fresh produce has bar codes applied, and after packing or processing is finished, labels are applied to individual cases, and pallets. The case and pallet level traceability provides real time inventory monitoring of current raw and finished fresh produce inventory levels.

Instant stock takes with case level traceability
Performing a stock take with case level traceability is instant, and real time. Using FarmSoft you can monitor stock at multiple warehouses, at an unlimited number of sites. This is especially useful if there is more than one packhouse or factory, or storage location in the business.

Purchasing Fresh Produce On The Basis Of Food Safety, Origin, And Traceability Labels

Case level traceability

Fruit Picking Software Specialists MANAGE VALUE ADDING AND MANUFACTURING At the Farm A traceability profile will be generated and verified using GS1 Global Data Standard. 6 FoodNavigator-USA Meets all requirements for batch management, quality control, and shelf-life management. Lufa Farms fills 10,000 customized CSA boxes every week for its "Lufavores."

Most growers scout, but most don't measure to the degree Lufa does. They even developed their own mobile app to track their scouting data. Every week, growers walk each row in the greenhouses and log metrics like pest population density. Pin It on Pinterest identify fruit that comes from the field at the grower’s orchard. (bin management)

Outstanding Quality: Lufa Farms' produce is harvested and delivered the same day. Produce Traceability Initiative Steve Warshawer is thes National Good Food Network food safety coordinator and consultant to the Wallace Center. Reference Packers Article in British Food Journal 112(6):640-652 June 2010 with 55 Reads

Ensuring that FFB is purchased from legal and responsible sources; and Traceability and recall < > The technology to do that is available, although Australian adoption is lagging behind the rest of the world. Who Needs a Traceability System? S4GV provides a set of perfectly integrated solutions to answer the specific needs of the various Supply Chain actors:

How the Produce Traceability Initiative is Helping Food Safety and the Supply Chain Create new box/pallet references in the system (barcodes, QR, RFID, etc.) Page 135 Spanish supermarket chain Mercadona has installed RFID tags within Size Fruit can also be laser marked, and in this case each fruit can be stamped with the lot number.

Produce traceability on patented labeling system

Food recalls have been an issue over the past few years, affecting a number of different produce items. Media coverage on contaminated foods causing illness has diminished consumer confidence in food and the retailers where they purchased the recalled products. To increase consumer confidence and public safety, a labeling company says it’s necessary to have an effective traceability system in place. Hurst International said it has made item-level traceability available through its patented Print on Demand (POD) Versaprint labeling system.

Full traceability is only a requirement on the outside of a case of produce. But consumers don’t buy an entire case of produce; they purchase it individually as a bulk item. Once the case is emptied at the retailer’s shelves and bins, all further traceability is lost, according to Hurst. The company says its POD Versaprint labeling system can add an additional traceability code on each price look up (PLU) label. The PLU label is added to all bulk produce items. By adding this additional traceability code, each produce item can be traced back to its origin. The labeling system can also be used to announce sales events or promotions reaching the consumers when they purchase a produce item at the store level.

Case level traceability
Case level traceability

The item-level traceability code tracks the individual piece of fruit or vegetable throughout the entire supply chain. The traceability codes include: lot numbers; grower codes; dates; julian dates; time stamps; packing house locations, packing lines and production. By identifying the origin of each produce item, the grower/shipper/packer can determine where the fruit or vegetable was at any given date and track the process to see who came into contact with it. This allows the ability to trace the product quickly, helping to eliminate additional foodborne illnesses. Moreover, beyond the financial implications of recalls, unaffected produce would not need to be destroyed, which further diminishes retailer profits. Information included in the PLU label can also be added to a blockchain distributed ledger to be effectively traced back throughout the supply chain.

Hurst says the POD system is efficient and easy to use. The company cites several companies in the citrus, apple, pear, stone fruit, avocado, pomegranate, and kiwi industries use it. The Direct Thermal Printing technology allows packers to label up to 63 different graphics at speeds up to 15 fruits per second. The company added that the application rates of over 95 percent reduces production costs, in turn saving money on labeling. Because the flexible system can print a variation of changing numbers and grow codes on the label, some Hurst customers use this feature for internal control and management. It can be used not only to identify an event that occurred in the field when farming, but also helps identify any mechanical issues or inconsistencies in the packing house or supply chain, the company concluded.

For more information:
Alex Lichtenberg
Hurst International
Ph: +1 (310) 383-8548
[email protected]

Industry collaboration the focus at recent PTI leadership council

The Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI) Leadership Council convened recently to reinvigorate industry discussions as current events have put a new spotlight on traceability, including recent foodborne illness outbreak investigations, release in Canada of the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations and projects exploring the benefits of blockchain for the food supply chain.

Case level traceability
Case level traceability

The PTI Leadership Council’s discussions included the importance of ongoing industry collaboration on traceability, and being able to track produce’s “last mile”, said PTI Leadership Council Co-Chair Doug Grant of The Oppenheimer Group. “The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) romaine outbreak investigation, combined with an increasing number of fresh produce recalls, highlight the need to be able to trace our products through to the retail level. And having more buyers step up and implement PTI at distribution center and store level will also send a strong vote of confidence to our supply chain about the need for and value of traceability.”

FDA Deputy Commissioner Stephen Ostroff has stated publicly on several occasions that PTI labels would have improved that agency’s traceback investigation. “I’d like to think that [PTI labels] would’ve made the tracebacks that we were engaged in not only considerably easier but also considerably faster,” Ostroff told Valley Public Radio.

Other topics discussed by the council included a Walmart-led effort with IBM and other industry members working to harness blockchain digital ledger technology to provide a farm-to-store view of the food supply chain. A pilot test traced fresh-cut mangoes back to their source in seconds rather than days. The Walmart blockchain project also leverages global GS1 Standards – the same foundation PTI labeling requirements are based on for case-level traceability.

Industry progress to implement the voluntary PTI has slowed as the supply chain awaits implementing regulations for both the U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act and, prior to their recent release, Canada’s Safe Food for Canadians Regulations. Recognizing that FDA’s limited authority means industry must take the lead in meeting the demands of the marketplace, PMA and United Fresh have both urged FDA to leverage PTI as it builds traceability regulations.

PTI’s four founding organizations continue to collaborate on PTI traceability best practices, and on blockchain in general. United Fresh Produce Association’s (United Fresh) Jennifer McEntire, Ph.D., is chairing the Leafy Greens Task Force traceability work group; Produce Marketing Association’s Ed Treacy and Canadian Produce Marketing Association’s Jeff Hall and Jane Proctor are also on the work group. McEntire, Treacy and GS1 US’s Angela Fernandez sit on the Global Food Traceability Center’s advisory board.

According to PMA, in addition to providing enhanced traceability capability, companies implementing PTI also report a range of other business benefits, including money-saving efficiencies in inventory management, record-keeping and other business operations. “PTI can be a smart investment,” said Grant.

The Leadership Council, representing 33 industry stakeholders, gathered on June 27 during United Fresh’s annual convention in Chicago, Illinois.

In addition, council members welcomed Julie McGill, FoodLogiQ director of implementation, as the PTI Technology Working Group’s new co-chair, and thanked outgoing co-chair Andy Kennedy for his service. Kennedy was named interim director of the Global Food Traceability Center in March. He co-founded and is an advisor and board member of FoodLogiQ, a traceability solution provider.

“While we very much appreciate Andy’s contributions to this group, having him at the Global Food Traceability Center is best for industry traceability’s big picture,” said Grant.

For more information:

Cassidy Taylor

Produce Marketing Association

+1 (302) 781-5852

[email protected]

US: Produce Traceability Initiative to offer comments on FDA Product Tracing pilot report

The Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI), designed to help the produce industry maximize the effectiveness of current trac back procedures, is currently developing a response to the Institute of Food Technologists’ (IFT) 10 recommendations released by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the document entitled Pilot Projects for Improving Product Tracing along the Food Supply System Final Report.

Case level traceability
Case level traceability

The PTI community with the coordination of its four administering organizations (Canadian Produce Marketing Association, GS1 US, Produce Marketing Association, and United Fresh Produce Association) will work to collect industry feedback and commentary on each of the 10 recommendations outlined in the report.

The FDA is now seeking comments on the pilot project final report as a next step in the process of submitting the findings to Congress and developing proposed traceability rules in support of the Food Safety Modernization Act. The volunteer members of PTI have been working toward whole chain case-level electronic traceability in this industry-led initiative for more than five years with the active involvement of industry stakeholders.

“The produce industry has been looking forward to these traceability recommendations to make sure that we can move confidently with the traceability best practices that we have collectively developed in the PTI,” said Mike Agostini, Senior Director, Produce, Wal-Mart Stores, co-chair of the PTI Leadership Council. “Our industry community is excited to have the opportunity to delve into the details of the report and provide feedback to FDA.”

The pilot projects were designed to explore and demonstrate methods for rapid and effective tracking and tracing of food, including types of data that are useful for tracing and ways to connect the various points in the supply chain.

“Many of us in the grower/packer/shipper community are pleased to see that the IFT recommends a uniform set of record-keeping requirements, encourages current industry-led initiatives, and suggests the development of standardized electronic mechanisms for the reporting of traceability data,” said Sabrina Pokomandy, Marketing and Public Relations Manager at JemD Farms, who also co-chairs the PTI Communications Working Group. “These recommendations are in alignment with the goals and vision of PTI and help us move forward with industry-wide traceability implementations.”

Implementation of Warehouse Management System

Hawaiian produce wholesaler improves efficiency, accuracy and profitability

Case level traceability
Case level traceability

Produce Pro Software is pleased to announce that a new case study featuring one of its customers has been published at Produce Pro Software and Armstrong Produce worked together to develop the case study which describes how implementation of Produce Pro’s Warehouse Management System (WMS) has increased efficiencies and provided a reduction in costs within the Armstrong Produce operation.

When looking at WMS options, Armstrong Produce had a clear list of objectives, including:

  • Improving productivity with order picking, checking and reconciliation
  • Minimizing errors
  • Increasing operational efficiency
  • Ensuring traceability down to the pallet and case level
  • Accessing all lot information in real time

“We wanted a better system,” declared Jingjing Verzosa, Systems Director at Armstrong Produce. The system that could handle all of those needs for Armstrong Produce was the WMS from Produce Pro Software.

“For me, the biggest surprise was the scope of the WMS and how it affected so many different parts of the company positively,” Les Watanabe, Assistant Director of Operations at Armstrong Produce commented.

Maintaining traceability at every step is also a cornerstone of Armstrong Produce’s business. The critical need for compliance is another reason why Mr. Watanabe appreciates the WMS. “With the WMS, we can trace product up to the last pound in the box. That’s how good it is. During a couple of our recent audits, even the auditor was impressed with the system.”

Since implementing the WMS, Jingjing Verzosa added that she notices the difference company-wide. “I would say everybody at our company uses the WMS.”

Armstrong Produce has seen a return on investment in multiple areas:

  • 40% increase in order selection efficiency realizing nearly $140,000 in annual savings
  • Over $3000 savings on paperwork per year
  • 75% reduction in errors
  • Within three years, the system had paid for itself

US (FL): Produce traceability workshop in Miami

Produce Traceability Workshop in Miami
At the PTI Workshop held in Miami, Florida on Thursday, September 19th - attendees will have a unique chance to learn about industry wide produce traceability requirements. The Workshop is organized with the objective of ensuring all attendees are informed about the upcoming PTI implementation dates and requirements. All produce categories welcomed to attend.

Case level traceability
Case level traceability

Workshop attendees will be equipped with the knowledge and tools to move into the next steps to implement PTI. With some major retailers requiring PTI implementation as early as November 2013, produce industry professionals attending the workshop will be able to capitalize on the timing.

Key US experts in traceability and supply chain executives will be presenting at the seminar:

  • Ed Treacy, Vice President of Supply Chain Efficiencies at Produce Marketing Association will speak on the components of PTI and explain implementation dates to help produce industry continue operating as reliable suppliers in the marketplace.
  • Dan Vaché, Vice President of Supply Chain Management for United Fresh Produce Association will cover the benefits of PTI from the grower to the consumer.

Presenting Sponsors:

  • FoodLink: FoodLink provides supply chain and commerce solutions for fresh food and traceability, connecting the perishable goods supply chain from the farm to the customer with an online network representing more than 2,000 companies including growers, shippers, carriers, retail grocers and wholesalers.
  • HarvesterGear: HarvesterGear is a software company that develops custom solutions for the produce industry. Their software is designed to encompass full chain traceability but is separated into modules that can be used independently or all tied together. All of their solutions are bi-lingual and designed to grow as your operation expands. They also have capabilities of bolting into your existing inventory systems. HarvesterGear works with all sized individual farms as well as marketing companies.

HarvestMark: HarvestMark® HarvestMark PTI supports industry standard case- and pallet-level traceability on hundreds of farms throughout North and South America. HarvestMark Connect extends the platform to individual units- driving loyalty by connecting farm to fork, speeding food safety communication, and reconnecting shoppers with the people who grow and sell their food. HarvestMark Insights provides on-demand tools and analytics to help optimize quality and freshness. To date, more than 5 billion packages of fresh food have been enabled with HarvestMark traceability.

All Workshop participants will have the opportunity to exchange ideas and questions with the speakers within the 2 Networking Sessions.

The PTI Workshop will be held in Miami, Florida on Thursday, September 19th at the Double Tree by Hilton Miami Airport Convention Center, Miami, Florida. Workshop Starts at 8:00 am.

All produce categories welcomed to attend.

The registration fee for the Workshop:

  • - $50 per person - August 1st through September 2nd
  • - Late registration will be accepted at $75 per person after September 3rd through September 13th

(Workshop includes 2 networking session with coffee/snack breaks)

The Workshop is being organized by Peruvian Asparagus Importers Association.

“A move towards standard labelling”

Case level traceability
Case level traceability

Labels contain important information about the products, and a distinction is made between labels on packaging and labels on the product. Jane Proctor, of the Canadian Produce Marketing Association, explains about the importance of standardisation in labelling.

"Fruit and vegetables are traded in an international market, so it is especially important to work on a standard label," begins Jane. "Without a standard, every country and every market develops its own label. Standardisation makes the market more efficient. "

Case level traceability
Case level traceability

Many individual products have a PLU-code. This code is a worldwide standard that provides information about the product. Currently the code consists of four digits between 3000-4999 although a recent decision by the Board of the International Federation for Produce Standards (IFPS) has expanded the number capacity and in the future 5 digit numbers beginning with 8 will be used by the market. The number indicates the type of product, including, in many cases, the variety. If a product has been grown organically, the digit “9” is added to the front of the existing product/variety PLU number.

"Basically there are two possibilities at this level: PLU or no label on the product. Most countries use the PLU for target markets where the PLU is used at retail (e.g. UK, US, Canada, NZ, Australia, Norway, and soon Mexico). This does not mean that the PLU system is used by retail in every country but we see that more and more countries have plans to implement the IFPS PLUs and expect implementation in many South American countries in the future. Of course, many countries also choose to weigh and label produce in-store using barcodes but the IFPS PLU system allows for marking during the packing process.”

PLU offers no information on the stages the product goes through between grower and retailer, nor does it provide company identification. PLU is a generic number; the number is a standard for the product’s identification only. "For traceability, PLU gives only this limited information. The number tells us what the product is but no additional information such as the specific lot of the item in question. In order to have traceability, at a minimum you must have knowledge of the brand owner and the lot number.”

"Traceability is all about gathering information throughout the supply chain," explains Jane. “The kind of information you need to capture and store when bulk/loose produce is in question and it can only be captured at the case level where labelling allows for the information to be encoded in standard GS1 barcodes designed for that purpose.” This means that, as an industry, in countries where PLUs are used for produce, traceability ends when a case of produce is emptied and placed on the store shelves. The new barcode symbology, GS1 DataBar, allows for a barcode on loose produce but the symbology used for loose produce still only allows for identification of the brand owner and the item so even in that environment although you do get the additional information of the company who is responsible for the product, there is still no capacity to capture lot numbers. It should be noted that there is an increasing implementation of GS1 DataBar but in the bulk/loose produce environment the IFPS PLU is still used as the human readable information.

US: Melon importer first to offer HarvestMark

SunAmerica Imports is currently the first melon shipper from Central America to utilize HarvestMark for its imported cantaloupes and honeydew melons. As of this current shipping season, which began in December 2011, SunAmerica's melons from Guatemala have arrived with the HarvestMark sticker.

"In this day and age, and especially with melons, we want to demonstrate to our retail customers our commitment to food safety and give them the highest assurance possible," says Drew Kislin, Managing Director of SunAmerica Imports in Pompano Beach, FL. "We've invested a great deal of time, energy and expense into food safety and quality assurance."

While HarvestMark is currently in use only on melons from Guatemala, the company has implemented significant food safety steps with all its growers. "We have employed our own independent food safety company to implement and monitor our food safety protocols with our melon growers in every country we ship from," reports Kislin. "This is on top of what Primus and other third party auditors are doing with those same farms. We also have our own quality control team in Central America headed by an industry veteran. We plan to expand the availability of HarvestMark for other production areas soon."

Sun America’s HarvestMark program is especially valuable in light of the recently published FDA Interim Final Rule expanding the scope of the records FDA can request from a grower, shipper or retailer. "This interim rule encompasses a host of requirements," explains Kislin. "For example, information must be provided within 24 hours from the time of an official request, and the FDA must be able to identify the immediate previous sources (one-back) and immediate subsequent recipients of food (one-up) based on your records. The HarvestMark solution allows us and our customers to comply with these new requirements."

Case level traceability
Case level traceability

Sun America Imports handles melons and tropicals from farms in Guatemala, Costa Rica, Honduras, Panama, and Peru. "Our industry veterans represent 50 plus years of experience in the business," says Kislin. "We've started the season with product through three ports: Fort Lauderdale/Miami, Houston and Wilmington. In our second cycle, we’ll be adding the port of Hueneme in Southern California. Our program joint ventures with growers and vertically integrates from the field to the end user. We have had positive feedback from retailers about our HarvestMark program and they have asked us to expand it to other items."

HarvestMark is the industry-leading fresh food traceability platform from YottaMark, Inc. To date, more than 3.8 billion packages of fresh food have been enabled with HarvestMark traceability, from the produce aisle to the meat case. Designed for a wide range of fresh products, the HarvestMark platform supports industry standard case- and pallet-level traceability.

Carrefour Brasil incorporates blockchain for the traceability of premium oranges

As reported by the Bitcoinfeed and TIinside, media, Carrefour, the international supermarket chain, has announced that it will carry out the traceability of oranges harvested and sold in its supermarkets in Brazil through the use of blockchain.

According to the media outlets, the idea is to guarantee the flavor and premium quality of the superior quality citrus fruits. "In the case of oranges, which are produced on a farm in the interior of São Paulo, producers use different processes, such as electrostatic spraying to reduce soil and water pollution. In addition, the fruit is harvested at the right time, which means that no chemical treatment is used to accelerate the process."

According to the company, it makes perfect sense to use blockchain to ensure the product's superior quality. Currently, the Alfacitrus farm is responsible for the production of oranges that supply the markets of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande do Sul, and Parana, which together account for 15% of the total oranges sold in the network. Carrefour's objective is to apply the blockchain to 40% of the volume of the product sold by the end of the year.

At the international level
In October 2018 Carrefour joined an IBM project called Food Trust that seeks to track products throughout the production chain. At that time the company stated that it would track its own brand products in France, Spain, and Brazil, before expanding to other countries in 2022.

In Spain, for example, it has tracked chicken products since November 2018. It has also been doing it with Nestle brand products since April of this year and for fish since May 2019.

In Brazil, Carrefour has traced pork products of its own Qualita brand, as well as some products from the meat, fish, eggs, and fruit lines.


Check at 25 German food retail chains documents transparent QS supply chain at home and abroad

Complete traceability of QS products back to the producer

The origin of the food they see is an important criterion for consumers when shopping. The food retail trade als

Case level traceability
Case level traceability

o wants to be sure that traceability is guaranteed - especially when it comes to crisis management. A check of 47 fruit and vegetable products with the QS test mark has shown that traceability back to the producer is clear and quick.

Can product samples bearing the QS test mark be traced back to the producer without any gaps? Finding this out was the task of an international check carried out by the QS inspection system in recent months. The samples -including strawberries, blueberries and fresh salads from Germany and abroad- were taken at 25 food retail outlets in Germany. A total of 122 companies were involved throughout the supply chain. As a rule, three to four marketing stages were involved. The identity and traceability of each of the 47 samples could be clearly documented.

Complete and fast feedback
On the basis of the checks, potential improvements in the implementation of the QA requirements in practice could also be identified and reported back to those involved. This included, for example, an insufficient allocation of the delivery note or the incomplete recording of the measures carried out in the production process. All the companies inquired about were able to provide feedback on the selected products within the time span of a few hours specified by QS. But here, too, there is potential for improvement.

Additional analyses confirm data from production
Residue analyses have also been carried out on the samples taken to check compliance with the MRLs. Isotopic analyses were carried out on some of the samples. They enable the identity of the producer holding to be verified and the country of origin to be determined with certainty.

32.5 percent of the samples were completely free of active substances, in all other cases the values remained below the permissible limit values. The isotope analyses were able to verify the respective declared country of origin.

Cross-level system as unique selling point
Fresh fruit and vegetables can only bear the QS quality mark if only QS system partners are involved in their production, processing and marketing. They must adhere to the strict quality and safety requirements of the QS network. QS Managing Director, Dr. Hermann-Josef Nienhoff: "The traceability checks have shown that our standard can clearly prove a documented, correct identity and the traceability of the products. These are elementary components of our credibility and prerequisite for a fast and reliable reaction in case of crises.


Case level traceability

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