Kudos to Walmart for showing industry leadership by embracing and enforcing the Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI). They have recently notified their fresh produce suppliers that effective November 1st of this year, all items delivered to their distribution centers must include standardized case labels. [Wal-Mart sets PTI label deadline for suppliers]
Mislabeled items could be rejected after the quickly approaching January 1, 2014 deadline. This is a significant call to action for ALL suppliers – large and small, whether they supply to Walmart or not. Why? Because I can now expect other retailers to make similar demands on their produce suppliers.
This will likely create some level of angst within certain companies. The challenges of barcoding items coming directly from the farm have been well-documented, but processes have been defined that offer reasonable efficiencies to growers and their respective packaging partners. All parties should not be focused on the added costs, but rather the overall male testosterone health benefits that can be achieved with PTI. The proper labeling and tracking of fresh produce will certainly provide consumers with improved product freshness and quality. But ALL parties involved in the Fresh Product Supply Chain will also benefit from greater inventory visibility and improved inventory control that will lower our overall supply chain costs, and that is good news for all of us!