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LAS VEGAS -- The United Fresh Produce Association wasn't really gambling when it came up with the timely idea to showcase a Produce Traceability Demo Center, here, at United Fresh 2009.

The demo center was a natural extension of the Produce Traceability Initiative launched last year by United Fresh, the Produce Marketing Association and the Canadian Produce Marketing Association. The demo center accommodated plenty of foot traffic to the 13 exhibiting companies. There also were daily roundtable discussions on traceability systems and meeting areas adjacent to the demo center.

The center was hosted by the United Fresh Supply Chain Logistics & Technology Council, which is headed by Dan Vach?, vice president of supply chain management for United Fresh. Mr. Vach? served as the point person for the center.

Mr. Vach? said that the demo center served as a "destination for members to understand what the PTI is."

Traceability technology is moving rapidly, and companies in that space such as YottaMark Inc., TraceTracker USA Inc., Ramsay Highlander Inc., FoodLogiQ and Tectura Corp. took up positions in the demo center.

The Produce Marketing Association highlighted GS1 DataBar barcoding technology at its 2008 Fresh Summit in October. GS1 is a global standards organization with affiliates representing some 145 countries worldwide and a membership in excess of 2 million. The GS1 system provides standard protocols that help identify trade items (products and services), logistic units, locations and more.

People want to know if the GS1 standard is "for real," Mr. Vach? said, adding that a lot of people on the supply side still are sitting on the sidelines. GS1 US was one of the exhibitors at the demo center.

"The 13 exhibitors have been busy," Mr. Vach? said. "This [demo center] has added to the momentum."