At a time when food safety and product traceability are increasingly important for both consumers and produce growers, one company manufacturing tags and ties for the produce industry has achieved its BRC certification.
Bedford Industries of Worthington, MN, a company that produces twist ties, bendable components and packaging reclosures, has worked for seven years towards the BRC, which is a globally recognized standard for food quality and safety. “Prior to achieving BRC certification, we’d undergone annual audits to the AIB International Standards for Food Contact Packaging Manufacturing Facilities,” says Nick Ahrens, assistant manager, quality, safety and training with Bedford. “But we also decided we would take our food safety commitment to the next level by adopting a certification that met the Global Food Safety Initiative standard.”
For growers and brands, this certification helps ensure product traceability and food safety. “These are ever-growing topics. A grower’s food safety plan must include packaging and materials, so a GFSI certification should give them a greater degree of confidence in their suppliers,” says Belinda Heidebrink, marketing specialist with Bedford. “Growers need traceability and transparency across their entire production chain and our BRC certification delivers that for them when it comes to ties and tags.”
Reducing plastic as well
At the same time, Heidebrink also notes that its tags help growers in their efforts to make their packaging more environmentally friendly. The company’s PushTag® product for instance cuts back on plastic packaging by 76 percent on a head of cabbage, compared to the traditional cabbage overwrap while its ElastiTag® Band reduces plastic by 70 percent compared to banana bags, which are often used for organic bananas. That same tag also cuts back on plastic for vegetables wrapped in plastic by 68 percent.
The company also recently introduced the TagBack™ initiative to recycle tags. Growers, retailers and consumers can recycle both tags and ties by dropped them into TagBack bins either in-store or shipped back through the mail. “This closes a sustainability gap in the produce supply chain,” says Heidebrink.