Currently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is coming up with traceability regulations to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act. However, many in the industry believe the FDA isn’t moving fast enough. That’s where the PTI comes into play.
Although it is not legally required, many food processors believe it is important to begin implementing PTI now. Members of the produce industry should start complying with PTI now so they aren’t struggling to keep up when new standards and requirements are issued by the FDA.
Not only is PTI important for the produce industry, but it is also crucial in the eyes of the customers. Consumers want to have confidence that the food they are buying and eating is safe and full traceability in case there is a recall.
Every year the produce industry handles about 6 billion cases of produce in the United States alone. With so much food moving around so frequently, the industry leaders realized that a systematic and industry-wide approach would be beneficial for everyone. Not only will it improve the speed, efficiency, and visibility of the supply chain, but it will allow for people quickly narrow the impact of product recalls before sickness or in worst case scenarios, death.
“When fresh produce leaves our fields, we should be accountable and responsible for the food we put into commerce. With this system, we know where it came from and we know where it goes,” said Jamie Strachan, CEO of Growers Express.
There have been instances in the past that have called for more control visibility for the produce supply chain.
In 1993, an E. coli outbreak was reported from the popular chain restaurant, Jack in the Box. Due to the outbreak, 731 people were infected from contaminated beef patties from 73 different locations. The outbreak resulted in 171 hospitalizations and four deaths. Lives were changed forever and the public called for better control over products so a massive outbreak would never happen again.
It is important for companies to start implementing PTI for the benefit of the public and the reputation of your company. Jack in the Box is still recovering from the outbreak that occurred over 25 years ago.