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Blockchain and Traceability

Label on case cropped

The Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI) is an industry-led effort to enhance traceability throughout the entire produce supply chain. The Initiative’s sponsor associations include United Fresh Produce Association (United Fresh), Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA) and Produce Marketing Association (PMA).

Both internal and external traceability programs are needed in order to effectively track and trace product up and down the supply chain, achieving whole-chain traceability. At present, most companies have “internal” traceability programs, but not “external” traceability programs.

  • Internal Traceability = confidential or proprietary data and processes companies use within their own span of operations to track/trace product.
  • External Traceability = the data exchange and business processes that take place between trading partners to track/trace product.
  • Whole-Chain Traceability = Internal + External traceability.

The PTI uses a Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) to achieve external traceability. A GTIN number includes a GS1 company prefix that can be readily incorporated into a UPC barcode and works with RFID or human readable codes. It also includes a unique item reference number. The “GTIN Assignment Strategy” has been created specifically for helping suppliers ensure consistency when assigning GTIN’s to the cases by using standard product attributes to organize and categorize products for GTIN assignment. Similarly, to ensure that one label can be used for the entire industry, a standard case label template has also been created as a result of the GTIN Produce Pilot conducted in the fall of 2006. The PTI Action Plan outlines the steps for achieving traceability at the case-level.

For more information about the Produce Traceability Initiative, visit

More traceability resources are available here.

For more information on blockchain, watch our previously recorded webinar.