posted on July 06, 2016 14:32
On Thursday June 23rd, the Board of the IFPS met at the McCormick Convention Center in Chicago for their Spring Meeting in conjunction with United Fresh Produce Association’s Convention, United Fresh. The Board welcomed new Board member Gry Sørensen from The Norwegian Association of Fruit and Vegetable Wholesalers. In addition Kelly Kirschner, VP of Global Marketing at Sinclair Systems International, LLC participated as a representative of this new associated member. Also new to the group was Elena Tomanovich, Senior Director Industry Engagement as the new liaison for Fresh at GS1 Global.
The use of PLU is still growing including the recent widespread retail implementation in Mexico and implementation by some retailers in France. The PLU database is now available in English, French and Spanish and the IFPS Product Identification Committee has turned its attention to improving the images and sizing information available in the database. The database can be extracted in these three languages for use in automated systems by using this link PLU search. In addition, the database includes full alignment between the PLU and the GS1 Global Classification Code (GPC).
Coming soon: The PLU database will soon be available via an IFPS App which is in testing now.
As the representative of the produce industry, IFPS participated in recent GFSI and ISO meetings. Relative to GFSI, the Board recently sent a letter to GFSI encouraging them to address delays with changes to the GFSI auditor competence scheme which directly impacts the produce sectors and other sectors using GFSI benchmarked schemes for food safety. The IFPS has offered their assistance in this effort. Additionally, the IFPS Food Safety Committee representatives are observing the review of the Codex General Principles of Food Hygiene but anticipate little change to the existing principles.
Australian Food Safety Harmonization: HARPS
The Harmonised Australian Retailer Produce Scheme (HARPS) was launched on May 17. Retailers are accepting GFSI-equivalent standards as a base, plus a bolt-on standard that harmonises Australian retailers’ additional elements. Ten trial audits will be done in June/July and it is expected to go live October 1st. All five Australian retail chains will accept HARPS in their operations.
Supply Chain Information Management
The increasing emergence of “disruptive technology” and the huge intelligence big data can bring to the industry underwrites the importance of IFPS work on international harmonisation. The IFPS supports the initiatives of SMART Horticulture Asia <link> and the 3rd EU FRESH INFO Forum & Roundtables in Rotterdam <link> later this year to continue international discussion, networking and information exchange in this area.
Thank you, and see you soon….
The Board wrapped up the spring meeting with thanks to two departing Board members, Michael Worthington (PMA New Zealand – Australia) and Anne Fowlie (Canadian Horticulture Council). The Board wishes both well in the next phase of their careers.
The next Board meeting is scheduled after the 3rd EU Forum in Rotterdam on December 1, 2016. If your association wants to work together with the IFPS on standardisation of information management in supply chain, food safety and product identification, please join us there. For more information, please contact the IFPS Chair, Ed Treacy at ETreacy@pma.com.