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First fruit and vegetable grower GlobalGAP GRASP certified in United States
“It has become common in the industry to state that you have the highest quality or an innovative approach. Quality is relatively simple to measure, to prove. That sweet potato must taste good, look good. Your shipment history will reflect that. Innovation must be proven and it is a journey, not a destination. You cannot rest on an accomplishment achieved years ago. There are infinite ways to improve the product, process or customer experience. Reaching full compliance on GLOBALG.A.P. GRASP is just one of many ways we are innovative. Anticipate announcements like this often.” – Steven Ceccarelli, Owner and President, Farm Fresh Produce, Inc.
For those unfamiliar, GRASP is a voluntary assessment module that builds upon the worker health and safety requirements in GLOBALG.A.P.’s widely used Integrated Farm Assurance standard.
“GRASP” stands for GLOBALG.A.P. Risk Assessment on Social Practice, and covers critical issues such as worker representation, working hours, wages, forced labor and discrimination. It is used to assess social practices in primary production and focuses on the review of basic indicators of potential social risks on farms.
For Farm Fresh Produce, Inc., that means sweet potato growing, harvesting, and packing. "It will help us address important social issues and build awareness. Through the assessment process, we learned that this module isn’t pass or fail. It tells you how you comply with national/international regulations regarding labor and how to improve your operation to meet growing market expectations about social practice. Each farm is evaluated on a case-by-basis because you will have unique qualities due to the produce, operation size, etc. Once evaluated, you must keep documentation and procedures regarding the management of employees. Interviews, document reviews, and inspections help determine your level of compliance."
"GLOBALG.A.P. GRASP compliance fit perfectly with the vision of our company. We have always emphasized the importance of our “people.” Our competition typically pays their employees the state minimum wage of $7.25 or close to that. Our lowest entry level jobs are paid a minimum of $10.00 an hour. We are a team. A positive work environment will have a beneficial effect on quality and productivity. A content employee will work harder, will be invested in the quality of product he/she touches. Also, we felt it was our responsibility to have standards to measure ourselves by and a clear way for employees to communicate their needs to us."
"We have many ideas and goals for our future and we tend to keep them private to avoid imitation but this goal is one we’d like to encourage our competition to acheive."
“GLOBALG.A.P. congratulates Farm Fresh Produce for taking this pioneering step in the US sweet potato industry. We believe that an integrated approach to addressing food safety and social practices in a single audit is an efficient and effective way for growers like Farm Fresh Produce to assure their supply chain partners of their responsible social practices on farm.” - Roberta Anderson, Executive Vice President for GLOBALG.A.P North America.
For more information:
Farm Fresh Produce Inc.
Tel: +1 (910) 920-9871
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