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?

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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.

May 2011: Traceability Insider

New HarvestMark PTI Pricing Makes Compliance Easier

Have you heard? We've changed the pricing for our PTI solutions to make compliance easier and more cost effective for growers and shippers. While our pricing for PTI used to be on a penny-per-box basis, we now offer a simple annual platform fee-regardless of how many labels you print. This model will help our customers effectively manage and forecast their PTI programs. The annual fee for our new PTI solutions is $1500 for PTI Express and $3000 for PTI Pro, plus the cost of hardware. Best of all, unlike other PTI providers, software updates are free if PTI standards evolve. Check out the new features and pricing of our PTI solutions here. For more information, contact us.

Best Practices for PTI Case Labels

The PTI Committee recently approved the case-label best practices for PTI. The best practices identified are consistent with key features of the label we discussed in March—such as the VoiceCode™ and not needing date-specific lots for field-packed produce. You can find out more here.

Mobile is Hot. Catch Up on 2-D Barcodes.

Last month, HarvestMark was featured on the cover of Florida Grower in a discussion of 2-D barcodes. A 2-D barcode is a machine-readable code format that uses pixels instead of bars to store data (so, technically it's not really a barcode). There are three dominant types in the market now: QR codes, data matrix codes, and the more obscure Microsoft tags.

A 2-D code packs more information into a given space, and is being used to direct consumers to websites and store item-specific information. Here's a quick guide to the three major formats so you can talk knowledgeably with retailers, marketers, ad agencies, and your kids.

Name Pros Cons
Open Data Matrix Globally recognized standard. Very efficient use of space. Can be square or rectangular. Readers are not native in cell phones (needs an app). Cannot be functional (e.g., URL, SMS)
Open QR Code Most popular format for reading with cell phones. Open standard (free licensed from Denso). Can embed functions (e.g., URL, SMS). Square only.
Proprietary Microsoft Tag Can overlay on logos with certain designs, color tags have very high data density. Can embed functions. Color can’t be printed variably. Format is proprietary to Microsoft. All scans are tracked by Microsoft. Restricted quantity.


Datamatrix QR MS_Tag
Rectangular data matrix containing 16-character traceability code QR code containing URL and 16-character traceability code Microsoft Tag


What are they being used for?

While 2-D codes cannot be read at checkout they can be read by cell phones (POS scanners typically can only read 1-D bars—so are limited to UPC codes and DataBars. Their primary uses are for directing consumers with smartphones to a mobile-optimized website, or for incorporating variable data such as traceability information.

Final note: for some reason, people often call these 3-D codes. Until someone figures how to make a barcode in the third dimension—these are most definitely two-dimensional.

White Mushrooms

Example of data matrix traceability code

Need a Refresher on GTIN Attributes?

The PTI identified primary attributes that define a GTIN. A change in one of these attributes would signify a different GTIN. We expect that as the PTI becomes widely adopted, retailers will begin to use these attributes to order products electronically or reconcile substitutions (rather than by GTIN). So, using the right attributes in your GTIN definitions is critical.

Here's the attributes (and some additional ones) and our thoughts on how much detail to include in each. Where we indicate GDSN—that field can only include specific values as defined by the GDSN.


Note: although we did not include case attributes (such as dimensions and TI-HI), it seems sensible to include at least nominal values when defining a GTIN. Other dimensions that may drive a split in GTINs are Brand and Post-Harvest Treatment.