Tools for Access to Changing Produce Market Demands
By Astrid Goplen
As most farmers will attest, being in the farming business and staying in the farming business requires an ability to continually adapt to changes in circumstance market demands, technology, weather patterns, rules and regulations and more. From
growing up on a farm, living in farming communities, traveling the world working on
a variety of farms and eventually making my career in farming related fields, I have always been fascinated by farmers’ exceptional ability to continually adjust to new challenges. I have also become keenly aware that the obstacles farmers face when aiming to adjust to new demands are almost never due to lack of effort and desire but always primarily due to inadequate access to the range of tools, training and resources needed.
More so than ever, fresh produce producers, packers, processors, and shippers are encountering market demands for 3rd party certification programs. Also, federal demands such as the Food Safety Modernization Act for food safety programs have become center stage.
At Ceres Certifications, International (CCI) we are here to assist producers and packers with the present and future changes to 3rd party certification requirements that they currently face and will continue to be confronted with in the future.
CCI thrives to support the fresh produce industry with a range of tools needed in order for producers to adjust to changing industry, market, and federal demands. For more information on the full range of services offered by CCI please visit the CCI website at www.ceresci.com. I would like to highlight with this news-update the expansions to the Global G.A.P. certification program CCI has recently completed. The Global G.A.P. Certification Program is unique in that it incorporates a range of certification needs such as for food safety (microbial risk), pesticide management (food safety/chemical risk) and social responsibility including worker welfare and environmental sustainability. With Global G.A.P. certifications these areas can be addressed simultaneously if needed. Global G.A.P. certifications are well recognized by US retailers as well as globally recognized. Well over 200,000 producers worldwide currently carry Global G.A.P. certification. CCI now offers Global G.A.P. Certification for individual producers (Option 1) as well as joint Global G.A.P. certification programs for farmers that are linked together in producer group certification programs (Option 2). The Global G.A.P. Option 2 Producer Group Certification program among other lends itself well to supplier food safety certification programs organized by packers and/or brokers. CCI offers the following GlobalG.A.P. Standards: 1) GlobalG.A.P. Integrated Farm Assurance (IFA) is the flagship GlobalG.A.P. Standard. Global G.A.P. IFA is a globally harmonized scheme for Good Agricultural Practices. The IFA standard includes among other food safety, environmental sustainability, and worker welfare components. IFA v5.3 is GFSI benchmarked. CCI offers certification against the IFA FV (fruit and vegetable) subscope, the IFA CC (Combinable Crops) sub-scope and the IFA HO (Hop) subscope. With the Global G.A.P. IFA standard CCI offers the Add-on for Risk Assessment on Social Practices Add-on (GRASP) which adds extra emphasis on worker welfare. IFA, including add-ons as needed, is available as Option 1: Individual producer certification, including Option 1 multi-site or as Option 2: GlobalG.A.P. certification for producer groups. 2) GlobalG.A.P. Harmonized Produce Safety Standard (HPSS) is designed to serve the needs of US produce industries and those selling into the US produce markets. HPSS is designed to include the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Rule (FSMA PSR) requirements. HPSS v1.2 is GFSI benchmarked. HPSS is available as Option 1: Individual producer certification, including Option 1 multi-site or as Option 2: Global G.A.P. certification for producer groups. 3) The PHA (Produce Handling Assurance) Standard provides stand-alone food safety certification for post-harvest activities such as cooling, light pre-processing, packing, and storage. For more detailed information on this new Global G.A.P. food safety certification standard see recently published PDF presentation on the PHA standard HERE. PHA can as needed be used in conjunction with IFA or HPSS farm audits for a complete produce production, packing, storing and traceability certification program. PHA is designed to include the FSMA PSR requirements. PHA v1.2 is GFSI benchmarked. PHA is available as Option 1: Individual producer certification including Option 1 multi-site.
The GlobalG.A.P. North America (GGNA) Spring 2021 Newsletter gives a good overview of recent developments in the US GlobalG.A.P. program including training opportunities. Links are provided to sign-up for free informational webinar on the Global G.A.P. PHA standard on June 24th. The GGNA Spring 2021 Newsletter can be found HERE. At CCI we are committed to our work with the fresh produce industry and we are here to help. For more information on the CCI Global G.A.P. Programs and many other food safety certification related services please visit www.ceresci.com