Improving the international fruit and vegetable supply chain by data standardization

IFPS, the International Federation for Produce Standards representing produce associations worldwide, wants to improve the supply chain efficiency of the fresh produce industry through developing, implementing and managing harmonized international data standards. “Sustainability and food safety are focus areas of our organization in standardizing increasing data driven demands,” said Rebecca Lee, IFPS chair.

To mark the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables, IFPS is exploring how to ensure that fruits and vegetables are well represented throughout discussions leading up to and during the UN Global Food Systems Summit, to be held in September or October. “We seek collaboration with like-minded organizations to amplify the effect of any initiatives IFPS member organizations and respective members undertake,” said Lee.

Improving the data driven supply chain includes the globalization of multiple Price Look Up (PLU) schemes into one global list for which we assign new numbers and manage to support point-of-sale accuracy around the world. Every grower/packer who ships to North America, New Zealand, Australia and various points in Europe will use these numbers as product identification on loose produce.

In food safety, IFPS members are increasingly concerned about the impact of the requirements included in the latest revision of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). As the global industry organization for produce standards, and reflecting our concern with ensuring that the movement of global supplies of fresh fruit and vegetables is enabled, not stymied, IFPS seeks consideration of the challenges these recent changes have created and asks for a seat at the table for primary agriculture. 

“The fresh produce sector ensures the accessibility of healthy, sustainable food worldwide. Due to the pandemic, fresh products were lost due to businesses shutting down and slowing transportation systems. It is critically important to improve the global food system both in support of farmers and the produce supply chain, and to support food security through a consistent, dependable supply chain,” said Lee.

International standardization of product data is foundational in securing a safe, healthy and sustainable future for fruits and vegetables this year and as we move ahead.

IFPS' efforts to ensure that the right product arrives at the right place at the right time by global product identification, includes both standard setting in cooperation with global standards bodies and establishment and management of the global IFPS Price Look Up (PLU) codes for fresh produce sold to consumers loose/in bulk. The process of international standardization in sustainability is at the beginning of its development and requires our continued attention.

For more information:
Siobhan May
Produce Marketing Association
Tel: +1 (302) 781-5855  

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