FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
November 5, 2012

Leadership Council Agrees to Enhance Produce Traceability Initiative

PTI Buyer Working Group to form, Wal-Mart’s Michael Agostini to co-chair Council

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:

CPMA: Lianne Wand, lwand@cpma.ca, 613-226-4187, ext 225
GS1 US: Krisztina Vida, kvida@gs1us.org, 609-620-8042
PMA: Meg Miller, mmiller@pma.com, 302.738.7100, ext 3031
United Fresh: Ray Gilmer, rgilmer@unitedfresh.org, 202-303-3425

Acknowledging that significant progress has been made to reach the Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI) goals over the last four years, the PTI Leadership Council has agreed that a buyer-centered implementation focus is needed to ensure continued industry movement toward case-level traceability.

The Leadership Council, representing 32 companies in the produce industry, met recently in conjunction with the Produce Marketing Association Fresh Summit in Anaheim, California, and decided to:
• Create a new Buyer Working Group to expedite the completion of the remaining retail/foodservice implementation steps for PTI
• Keep the PTI governance structure intact with the Leadership Council meeting twice a year and working groups utilized as needed
• Maintain progress of supply-side PTI implementation
• Maintain industry education and communications via the PTI website and other channels as needed

Michael Agostini, Senior Director, Produce, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc, accepted the position of Leadership Council co-chair as Cathy Green Burns resigned from this volunteer post due to increased work commitments as President of Food Lion.

“PTI is clearly better off today than it was four years ago when we started, and that is due in no small part to Cathy’s leadership,” said Agostini.  “We should celebrate our success as we have collectively moved our industry to embrace and understand traceability with 229 members participating in our working groups developing best practice and guidance documents in support of our milestones.”

Agostini is responsible for the merchandising of key produce categories at Wal-Mart’s US Supercenters and Neighborhood Markets, which currently total more than 3,000 retail stores nationwide. He also leads Wal-Mart’s produce technology efforts, which seek to leverage technical solutions to create innovative processes for Wal-Mart’s produce supply chain.  A veteran of over 39 years in the produce and grocery industry, Agostini has recently served on the PMA Board of Directors and as Chair of the PMA Supply Chain Efficiencies Committee.


“The PTI milestones have been effective in guiding the industry step-by-step toward improved traceability and food safety,” said Doug Grant, co-chair of the Leadership Council and Senior Vice President and Chief Operations Officer of The Oppenheimer Group. “Moving forward, we need to support the new Buyer Working Group so industry members can effectively identify the best strategies to keep the momentum going for the PTI we have built over the last four years.”

Grant joined The Oppenheimer Group in 1995 as director of information technology and has spearheaded the implementation of state-of-the-art IT systems, keeping the company at the digital forefront of the produce industry. He has since taken on executive responsibility for information technology, operations, quality control, manufacturing, transportation, supply chain management, marketing, grower relations, and food safety, while having oversight responsibility for the Santiago, Chile office.

About the 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 industry 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 by the year 2012.

 

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About the Canadian Produce Marketing Association
Based in Ottawa, Ontario, the Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA) is a not-for-profit organization representing over 770 Canadian and International member companies that are active in the marketing of fresh fruits and vegetables in Canada from the farm gate to the dinner plate. CPMA members represent all segments of the fresh produce industry. CPMA's vision is to enable and lead the produce industry by enhancing the market and facilitating trade of fresh fruits and vegetables for its members.  For more information about CPMA, please visit www.cpma.ca. 

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 200,000 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-based RFID, data synchronization, and electronic information exchange. GS1 US also manages the United Nations Standard Products and Services Code (UNSPSC). www.GS1US.org

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 www.pma.com.

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 www.unitedfresh.org.