That was then, this is now.
“Two years ago, we broke away and went to a global food safety-certified” program that enhanced the program New Limeco already had in place, Edgar said. “Rather than just follow the procedures of GMP and GAP, now we have a complete profile, a food safety diagram laid out by our management team.”
Edgar said New Limeco learned many lessons from the story of Jensen Farms, the Colorado cantaloupe shipper responsible for a 2011 listeria outbreak that killed at least 33 people and sickened 147 in 28 states.
New Limeco hired a company that specializes in building customized traceability plans for businesses to help ensure that, in the event of a recall, the company would have what Edgar called a “complete circle” of accountability.
“They helped us devise a new inventory management and accounting system,” he said.
Now, Edgar says New Limeco is in the process of “taking PTI a step further” by helping its grower-partners add serial numbers at the case level to match what New Limeco is doing at the receiving end.
Within two years, Edgar said, the company hopes to have its major growers on board with the project. By February, New Limeco should have one of its major papaya suppliers up and running, and by June 2014, the company expects to add at least a few more growers to the list.
Central American growers already have taken huge steps to get up to speed when it comes to food safety and traceability, Edgar said.
“We’ve gotten the growers on board to receive certification,” he said. “If you’re supplying Wal-Mart or another company, you have to be third-party audited. And they’re all up and running with Global GAP and Primus.”