GLOBALG.A.P. North America Inc. (GGNA), the U.S. and Canadian division of the world’s largest private sector standards organization for Good Agricultural Practice, has announced that the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) recently recognized its Integrated Farm Assurance (IFA V4.0—Fruit & Vegetables Sub-scope) and Produce Safety Standard (PSS V4.0), according to GFSI Guidance Document Sixth Edition, BI and D Scopes (Farming of Plants and Pre-Processing Handling of Plants, respectively), for food safety and traceability.
“We are very committed to meeting our growers’ supply chain requirements, and welcome the re-benchmarking of IFA and the first recognition of PSS by GFSI,” said Thomas Fenimore, GGNA’s EVP. “GLOBALG.A.P. offers growers in the U.S.A. and Canada a range of standards to meet their certification needs, and the requirements of their customers, for the domestic and international markets. GFSI recognition further enhances our innovative product line by meeting retailer benchmarking expectations. We appreciate the recognition of our standards by retailers and foodservice providers.”
Tim Spreier, director of Lipman Produce Cos., said, “As the largest field-grown tomato producer in the U.S.A., Lipman is using the certification body NSF Agriculture to perform the GLOBALG.A.P. Produce Safety Standard audit with the optional Tomato Metrics checklist. Lipman feels that both of these advanced audit schemes comprehensively review our farming, packing and distribution channels along with being accepted by our entire customer base.”
“I am very pleased with the new version of GLOBALG.A.P.’s Integrated Farm Assurance, Version 4, which utilizes the Harmonized GAP Standard in its food safety module and in doing so, addresses areas of concern regarding microbiological hazards. It has also been recognized by GFSI and we have a number of our operations audited to GLOBALG.A.P. IFA Version 4,” said Walter Ram, VP of food safety for The Giumarra Family of Cos. and chairman of the United Fresh Food Safety and Technology Council.
Jonathan Needham, GGNA’s VP of operations, added, “GLOBALG.A.P. is the first choice in farm assurance around the world. When a grower presents his GLOBALG.A.P. Certificate to a retailer, he is communicating the strongest possible commitment to food safety, the most proactive dedication to consumer and supply chain partner protection. GLOBALG.A.P. Certification expresses trust, excellence, thoroughness and unparalleled integrity. We are a stakeholder-driven, partnership-based organization with core values of openness and transparency. Our objective is not profit maximization, it is safe, sustainable agriculture worldwide. This is what distinguishes us in the North American marketplace. GFSI recognition is a testament to our commitment to the growers who have placed their trust in us.”
GLOBALG.A.P. offers North American produce growers three general use standards:
1. Integrated Farm Assurance (IFA): the most widely accepted import/export farm certification standard worldwide—comprehensive, progressive and holistic in scope.
2. Produce Safety Standard (PSS): an option for growers seeking food safety and traceability certification in the domestic market—a subset of IFA with an upgrade path.
3. Primary Farm Assurance (PFA): the non-accredited assessment stepping stone toward full certification, an entry-level standard that assesses fundamental food safety for local and domestic markets.
“We look forward to introducing a packing house standard in the near future to further augment our product line,” Needham said. “Furthermore, we are deeply committed to reducing audit fatigue, and support the Produce GAPs Harmonization Initiative led by United Fresh, and the Harmonized Standards checklists.”
“Achieving GFSI re-recognition is a terrific achievement for GLOBALG.A.P.,” said Ben Marchant, VP of marketing gor NCSI Americas, a provider of auditing and certification services. “Once again, growers will be able to choose between several GFSI programs with GLOBALG.A.P. at the fore as the world’s largest GAP standard. GLOBALG.A.P.’s Produce Safety Standard is an innovation in GAP certification that nobody was aware that we needed—until now that it’s in place and being audited against, giving growers an intermediary standard to meet as part of their continuous improvement toward full IFA certification. Further innovations, such as a GLOBALG.A.P. packing house standard, will be widely welcomed by the produce community and we look forward to it being rolled out.”
Dr. David Gombas, SVP of food safety and technology for the United Fresh Produce Association, said, “GLOBALG.A.P. was the first of the GFSI-benchmarked audit organizations to adopt the Harmonized Standards as their National Interpretation Guideline in the U.S.A., so we are confident that fresh produce suppliers, and buyers that are requiring their suppliers to be certified to a GFSI-benchmarked standard, will find GLOBALG.A.P.’s PSS and IFA to be reasonable and complete food safety standards for Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) audits. The Harmonized Standards were developed by the broadest spectrum of fresh produce suppliers and customers to meet food safety assurance needs, and we encourage all audit organizations to utilize the Harmonized Standards for their GAPs checklists.”
Dave Sargent, owner of Sargent Farms and supplier to 1,600 Walmart Supercenters, said: “GLOBALG.A.P. in my opinion as a farmer is the best thing that’s ever happened to the industry. I think that all farmers benefit from GLOBALG.A.P. audits. I know I do. We have to make sure on the farm that we do an excellent job, and GLOBALG.A.P. has helped us there immensely. The world is becoming a smaller place because of modern communication and transport technology. It is critical that the world be able to feed itself and, in order for that to happen, we will have to ship our produce internationally. To meet the demands and expectations of the global marketplace, we have decided to upgrade our GLOBALG.A.P. audit scheme from the non-accredited Primary Farm Assurance assessment to the accredited Integrated Farm Assurance certification with its comprehensive set of criteria. I congratulate GLOBALG.A.P. on its recent GFSI recognition.”
GLOBALG.A.P., founded in 1997 and based in Cologne, Germany, is the world’s most widely accepted and largest private sector food safety standards organization: 130,000 producers under certification in 110 countries; 400-plus covered products; 23 standards, add-on modules and programs; and 300 member organizations across the industry with the shared vision of harmonizing GAP globally.