Jack Gyben, vice president of marketing and co-owner of Los Angeles-based
Progressive Produce was a guest speaker panelist at the Produce Marketing
Association Traceability Symposium held in Cerritos, CA, in October,
according to a company press release.
The release stated that Mr. Gyben began with a short history of the company,
which has been in business for 43 years. In 2003 owners Jim Leimkuhler,
Victor Rodarte and Mr. Gyben purchased the company from Chiquita and at
that time decided to expand into other commodities. Since that time, Mr.
Gyben said, there have been two significant changes that have taken place in
the industry — technology and communication.
Food safety is serious business at Progressive Produce, according to the press
release. Mr. Gyben commented on how proud the firm's principals are of
scoring a "Superior" rating from Primus Labs at all four company facilities.
He went on to say that Progressive is true to its name and on the fast track to
implementing the Produce Traceability Initiative on its original timetable by
creating GTINs (case-level traceability), working with enterprise resource
planning systems to generate labels and store trace data and evaluating the
best ways to equip its packers to be compliant by the target date. Progressive
is committed to be responsible to the industry, the consumer and their
company and employees, the release said.
While all the panelists covered the supply side of traceability, Mr. Gyben also
shared Progressive’s program of item-level traceability, and its implications
for consumer feedback. The “HarvestMark” label allows the consumer to trace
back the item to the field where it was grown and provides other consumer-
friendly information. For the supplier, the label traces back to packingline,
pack date and inbound lot number, and identifies the date and location of
trace events for marketing purposes.
Progressive won the 2009 PMA Impact Award for Packaging on its
“HarvestMark Yam.” Since that time Progressive has expanded this labeling to
include other branded and private-label items, the release said.
Looking forward, Mr. Gyben said in the release, “Traceability provides us new
insights and ways to engage our customers. Implementing traceability signals
we are transparent and 'progressive’ working together with our retail partners
to make a difference in the marketplace.”