Standardized RPC labeling drive endorsed by retailers

Tom Karst

Three large retailers have accepted a new label standard for returnable plastic containers, with traceability in mind.

Kroger, Loblaw and Safeway accept a four-inch by two-inch RPC label as the new standard as part of industry collaboration related to the Produce Traceability Initiative.

The standardized label provides a cost effective solution for produce suppliers, according to a news release. Details about transition plans and other details will be addressed by each retailer, according to the release.

Ed Treacy The news came during a PTI Leadership Council meeting, in conjunction with the May 1-3 United Fresh 2012 convention in Dallas.

Ed Treacy, vice president of supply chain efficiencies for the Newark, Del.-based Produce Marketing Association, estimated that four retailers — Kroger, Safeway, Loblaw and Wal-Mart — use about 90% of the RPCs in fresh produce.

He said the three retailers have required a two-inch by 10 1/2-inch wraparound label for RPCs, while Wal-Mart has not been prescriptive about what type of label suppliers should use.

Treacy said May 8 that the new label standard should be less expensive and easier to put on in the production line, and will be acceptable to Wal-Mart as well.

PTI, sponsored by Canadian Produce Marketing Association, GS1 US, Produce Marketing Association and United Fresh Produce Association, seeks supply chain-wide adoption of electronic traceability of every case of produce by the year 2012.

Treacy said the PTI implementation working group is going to work on a best practices document for milestone seven, reading and storing information on outbound cases. He said other best practice documents are expected to be posted in the next several weeks.