Growers work to meet last traceability deadline

05/15/2012 12:39:00 AM
Tom Burfield

“There are things in PTI that we’re required to do that that’s their primary and only usage,” he says.

The cost of the program was not excessive, Wedin says, “well under $100,000.”

The ongoing expense will be stickers and printing, says Mike Browne, vice president, fresh operations.

The cost to smaller companies likely would be much less on a per-package basis, he adds.

Calavo got a head start on PTI when representatives of the company’s information technology and operations departments began working on a database as part of the Produce- Supply.org LLC consortium, Wedin says.

“That really helped prepare us to understand the depth of what we were going to have to go through,” he says.

“We’re ahead of the curve a little bit in that we started data bar labeling on our fruit in 2007,” Browne says. “The main thing we were concerned about was getting too far ahead and making mistakes that would cost us lot of money.”

The company wanted to be ahead just enough to accomplish the traceability goal of one step forward, one step back, Browne says, adding, “I believe we’re there.”

“It was a lot of work, but it was a group effort,” he says. “It was bringing all the different departments together.”

Although Calavo considered outside providers, the company decided to implement the system itself.

“We had the level of competency to do it—for now,” Browne says.

An investment, not a cost

“The challenge is, there’s some work and investment that has to be made,” Vache says, but he emphasizes the investment aspect rather the cost.

“If you look at it strictly as a cost, you’re missing part of the program,” he says. “Early adopters have found real advantages for their own internal systems.”

“There will be a tipping point,” Vache says, when major chains get behind the program and set a date by which their suppliers must comply.

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