Our Newsletter:
Traceability Insider

August 2014
How Digitization is About to Change the Rules of Your Business

June 2014
Food Waste, We are Fed Up, and a Gladson Case Study

May 2014
Ag Tech and the Power of Catchy Criticism

March 2014
Labels are Soooo 1990, “Thorny” food labeling law

January 2014
Oxymoronic Grocery Predictions and Big Data for the Produce Industry

December 2013
The Gift of Growing – Helping Kids Get Their Hands Dirty!

November 2013
Produce Brand Strategy, Visibility and Transparency

September 2013
A "Lean" Supply Chain, Knowing your Shopper

April 2013
Food Waste, The Rolling Stones, Raley's, and Tanimura & Antle

March 2013
First Look! FDA Releases IFT Traceability Report and Lessons from Europe's Horsemeat Crisis Every Fresh Food Brand Should Learn

January 2013
What Does the Future Hold?

September 2012
"Locale" Produce and Reducing the Impact of Recalls

January 2012
Making the Case for Traceability

September 2011
GTINs – the Devil Is in the Details

August 2011
Turbocharge Mobile Marketing with HarvestMark and QR Codes

May 2011
Traceability Insider

January 2011
It's a New Year. What's the latest on PTI?

May 2010
HarvestMark Makes its VoiceCode™ Solution Open Source

December 2009
IFT Publishes Traceability Report for FDA

Holiday Issue 2009
What Happened at the FDA/USDA Hearing on Food Traceability

September 2009
Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food

August 2009
How to Avoid Synching Without Trace

July 2009
What's the Value of PTI?

May 2009
Case-Level and Item-Level Traceability-What You Need to Know

April 2009
Still Have Questions about PTI? Don't Worry, You're Not Alone

March 2009
PTI, GS1, GTIN, GLN? HarvestMark's Got the FAQs

January 2009
The First PTI Milestone is Around the Corner

December 2008
A Pivotal Year for Food Safety

November 2008
FDA Solicits Public Comment on Enhanced Produce Traceability

October 2008
Produce Traceability Initiative Action Plan Released

September 2008
How Will Greater Transparency Enhance Your Business?

Español - 01 2012
Elaborando el Caso para Trazabilidad

Español - 03 2012
La Más Reciente Norma de la FDA es Efectiva Inmediatamente. ¿Debería Usted Estar Preocupado?

August 2013
How Walmart Could Implement PTI, Crowdsourced Shopper Insights

June 2010
How to Interpret the PTI announcement of "Goal Unchanged, Milestones Adjusted"

December 2010
An Update on the PTI

July 2010
Produce Traceability in Foodservice

February 2010
What's Going on with the PTI

March 2010
Consumer Attitudes to Traceability

August 2010
HarvestMark Launches Consumer Campaign in Portland, OR

March 2011
Have you heard of the PLU DataBar Initiative?

November 2011
Traceability? There’s an App for That

December 2012
It’s all new. Introducing HarvestMark 2013.

March 2012
The FDA's Latest Ruling is Effective Immediately. Should You be Worried?

June 2012
Do QR Codes REALLY Drive Shopper Engagement?

Become a Traceability Insider

Learn what's happening in the world of traceability and beyond in our monthly Traceability Insider. Subscribe today to get the latest news on HarvestMark as well as commentary, insight and information on the latest issues and trends impacting the industry.

January 2009: The First PTI Milestone is Around the Corner

Are you ready for the GTIN?

Last October the Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI) announced a roadmap to external traceability for the fresh produce supply chain (read more about PTI). The first milestone on that roadmap is for brand owners to acquire a unique company identifier by March 31, 2009. This company identifier (also called the company prefix) is the key part of a GTIN. The GTIN in turn is the foundation for creating a standardized way to identify produce for traceability throughout the supply chain.

Here's a quick guide to what the GTIN is, and how you get one:

What is a GTIN?

A UPC Barcode Showing the Manufacturer Code and Product Code.The Global Trade Identification Number (pronounced "Gee-Tin") is a number that uniquely identifies a brand, and that brand's products. Think of it like the UPC barcode on a consumer item - the first few digits represent the manufacturer, the rest represents the item.

 A Case Label Showing a GTIN, where 10614141 is the Company Prefix.

Why do I need my own GTIN?

Can't I still use the 33383 number? By March 31, 2009 any company that sells a product under its own brand has to have a unique company identifier to comply with the PTI. The company identifier will be 6 to 9 digits. Brand owners can no longer use the PMA's 33383 number, because it does not tie a product to the brand owner uniquely. Only one organization can issue these company identifiers: GS1.

How much will it cost?

GS1 is a global non-profit organization, and charges a onetime fee for allocating a unique company identifier, and an ongoing annual fee to maintain it in their database. The actual cost depends on your annual revenue and the number of SKUs and locations you need to identify. The initial fee will range from a few hundred to a couple of thousand dollars, with an annual renewal fee of several hundred dollars.

How do I figure out how many SKUs I'll need?

This is more complex. PMA has a white paper on deciding how many SKUs you'll need - you can get a copy. The PTI guidelines leave the decision of precision up to the brand owner. As a rule of thumb, if you are a grower/shipper or repacker - you'll potentially need a SKU for each unique item and packaging configuration you ship. For example, 2 commodities each of which can have 3 varieties, 3 quality grades and 4 sizes (2x3x3x4) = 72 SKUs. Wholesalers and distributors will only need a company identifier if they repack. However, the company prefix application doesn't require that you know exactly how many SKUs you'll need, just an order of magnitude (i.e. 1-100, 101-1,000, 1,001-10,0000).

How long does it take to get one?

It should take you about 10 minutes to go through GS1's order form and complete payment with a credit card. Note, there is no "grower" identification - only "manufacturer" or "broker". Once you complete your application, it should take 1 day to get a GS1 Company Prefix Certificate.

Okay, now how do I implement external traceability?

Please contact us or call (866) 76 T-R-U-S-T. We can help you figure out how to implement traceability in your workflow - whether it's field-packed or line-packed - and figure out how you can use traceability to improve your operations.