Friday, June 10, 2011

Growers adopt food safety protocols

Excerpts from a 5/30/11 article in The Packer by Doug Ohlemeier

South Florida's avocado grower-shippers are keeping their production and packing facilities updated on food safety procedures and investing in proper food safety practices.

Although Brooks Tropicals, LLC. Homestead, Fla., has long had its packing facility third-party audited by PrimusLabs, Santa Maria, Califl, the company is nearing third-party certification for all its avocado groves and crews, said Bill Brindle, Brooks' vice president of sales management.

Brooks has conducted a pilot program for the Produce Traceability INitiative-compliant GS1-128 labels and the Global Trade Identification Numbers for case lots, Brindle said. Brooks is working with key retailers to ensure they meet buyers' requirements.

"Theoretically, a lot is supposed to be done by the end of this year," Brindle said. "But as I talk with people in the industry, most of them are in the position where we are, where they're trying to figure out what needs to be done and the most efficient way to do it. When you do things like that, you really don't want to have to do it twice. You don't want to race out there first and do it one way when another gib retailer tells you to do it a different way."