PINGREE, Idaho-Wada Farms joined in the fresh produce industry's voluntary effort to adopt traceability standards a couple of years ago, concerned government requirements would prove too costly and could become broader than necessary.
The large eastern Idaho fresh potato growing and packing operation is now poised to implement those safety protocols, called the Produce Traceability Initiative, at a moment's notice, and at a cost well below original estimates.
PTI requires shippers and retailers to place an updated label on each case of produce, with specific lot data detailing its origin, and to modernize scanning equipment accordingly. The initiative should provide a specific means for the industry to comply with the forthcoming federal Food Safety Modernization Act.
Bob Meek, CEO of Wada Farms Marketing Group and a member of the PTI executive committee, said his company invited 20 of the nation's experts on traceability to help make PTI implementation efficient and sent a test shipment with the new labels to Atlanta.
The group found ways to cut printing and equipment costs, helping Wada develop its program for $100,000 to $150,000, compared with an original quote of $500,000 made 14 months ago.
SOURCE: John O'Connell, Capital Press