PTI Announces Significant Improvements to Traceability Guidance

EWING, N.J. – The Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI), consisting of CPMA, GS1 US, PMA, and United Fresh, and its many volunteer industry members, announce the release of four new or improved tools to support traceability implementation:

  • Canada/U.S. Harmonized Case Label
  • Template for Sharing Traceback Data with regulators
  • Revised Best Practices for Formatting Case Labels
  • Updated ASN (Advance Ship Notice)

“As the Canadian industry strives for compliance with the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) and the U.S. industry prepares for the September release of draft Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA) traceability- related regulations, traceability is increasingly a focus across the supply chain and with consumers,” said PTI Chair, Doug Grant of The Oppenheimer Group. “These new and updated resources support a renewed commitment to traceability efforts and bring clarity and harmonization to the tools that support traceability.”

The Harmonized Case Label reflects an industry-wide collaboration amongst stakeholders to align on a label that would be accepted by buyers in the grocery and foodservice communities in both Canada and the U.S. Buyers from both countries worked through the winter to design and align on one label that meets both buyer and regulatory requirements and remains founded on global GS1 standards. To bring confidence to the supplier community, part of the effort included confirmation of buyer commitment to the label via individual letters of support which are available on the PTI website. Buyers who have not yet confirmed their support are encouraged to contact one of the four associations noted in this release.

To ensure clarity on the use of the label, the PTI Best Practices for Formatting Case Labels was updated and includes information to enable integration into operations regardless of the commodity being packed.

In addition, the new Produce Traceback Template initiated as part of the Romaine Task Force and finalized by PTI working groups is designed to transmit traceability data to regulators when a company is involved in a trace-back investigation. The template was developed with guidance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for produce companies to better manage responses to inquiries about potentially harmful products in the supply chain, regardless of whether or not they are PTI compliant. The tool is designed to be used by companies of varying sizes who are at any point in their traceability journey. The Template was also integrated into the PTI Guidance for Sharing Traceback Data. Initial testing by a small group of buyers yielded favorable responses, and over the summer PTI will execute a larger pilot to determine how the Produce Traceback Template can enable the broader food industry to align on traceability best practices and prepare for interoperability and regulatory requirements of the future.

Finally, as industry transitions to use of the ASN, the ASN 856 document was updated to reflect the updated EDI standard version 007050 UCS. This technical change supports the use of this electronic means for sharing both commercial and traceability information amongst trading partners.

PTI’s four founding organizations continue to collaborate on industry challenges and solutions for produce traceability, and encourage industry to access the new and updated resources at

About PTI
The Produce Traceability Initiative, sponsored by Canadian Produce Marketing Association, GS1 US, Produce Marketing Association and United Fresh Produce Association, is designed to help the fresh produce industry to maximize the effectiveness of current traceback procedures, while developing a standardized industry approach to enhance the speed and efficiency of traceability systems for the future. The PTI’s bold vision outlines a course of action to achieve supply chain-wide adoption of electronic traceability of every case of produce. For more information, visit

About the Canadian Produce Marketing Association
Based in Ottawa, Ontario, CPMA is a not-for-profit organization that represents a diverse membership made up of every segment of the produce industry supply chain who are responsible for 90% of the fresh fruit and vegetable sales in Canada. CPMA is fortunate to represent a sector that is both a significant economic driver for communities and that also improves the health and productivity of Canadians. For more information about CPMA, please visit

About GS1 US
GS1 US, a member of GS1, is an information standards organization that brings industry communities together to solve supply-chain problems through the adoption and implementation of GS1 standards. More than 300,000 businesses in 25 industries rely on GS1 US for trading-partner collaboration and for maximizing the cost effectiveness, speed, visibility, security and sustainability of their business processes. They achieve these benefits through solutions based on GS1 global unique numbering and identification systems, bar codes, Electronic Product Code (EPC®)-based Radio Frequency Identification (RFID, data synchronization, and electronic information exchange. GS1 US also manages the United Nations Standard Products and Services Code (UNSPSC®).

About Produce Marketing Association (PMA)
Produce Marketing Association is the leading trade association representing companies from every segment of the global produce and floral supply chain. PMA helps members grow by providing business solutions that expand business opportunities and increase sales and consumption. For more information, visit

About United Fresh Produce Association (United Fresh)
Founded in 1904, the United Fresh Produce Association serves companies at the forefront of the global fresh and fresh-cut produce industry, including growers, shippers, fresh-cut processors, wholesalers, distributors, retailers, foodservice operators, industry suppliers and allied associations. From its headquarters in Washington, D.C. and Western Regional office in Salinas, Calif., United Fresh and its members work year-round to make a difference for the produce industry by driving policies that increase consumption of fresh produce, shaping critical legislative and regulatory action, providing scientific and technical leadership in food safety, quality assurance, nutrition and health, and developing educational programs and business opportunities to assist member companies in growing successful businesses. For more information, visit