Earthbound Farm, competitors talk food safety

07/25/2013 08:01:00 PM
Mike Hornick

Earthbound FarmMike HornickWill Daniels, left, senior vice president for operations at Earthbound Farm, discusses produce wash systems July 25 at an industry food safety meeting in San Juan Bautista, Calif. Samantha Cabaluna, right, vice president of communications and marketing, looks on.SAN JUAN BAUTISTA, Calif. – Rival companies dropped their competitive guard momentarily to discuss food safety and changes in wash systems as Earthbound Farm opened its doors to them.

A group of about 15 attended a plant tour and meeting July 25 at the San Juan Bautista-based organic grower-shipper. They included representatives of SmartWash Solutions, Taylor Farms, Ready Pac Foods, Field Fresh Foods, Club Chef and Yum! Brands.

Will Daniels, senior vice president for operations at Earthbound Farm, announced plans for the meeting in May during the Food Safety Summit in Baltimore. Daniels and Larry Smith, senior manager of maintenance, led a discussion of wash technology at Earthbound.

Steven Swarts, director of business development for Salinas-based SmartWash Solutions, welcomed the meeting.

“Any time we can all come together, share best practices and work together to improve food safety, it’s a benefit to all the companies involved,” Swarts said.

Discussion revolved around controls on chlorine levels in produce washes.

“We’re always looking to improve the specifications, reduce the upper and lower ranges of free chlorine and bring in tighter controls for the entire process,” Swarts said. “A lot of us have had trouble with the upper ranges, where we have environmental issues with employees. Lower ranges would be the food safety concerns.”

Earthbound Farm reduced deviations in chlorine levels with changes to its wash system that have been in place for about two years, Daniels and Smith said.

“Systems in the past would have a wide range of fluctuation from the set point,” Daniels said. “If your set point is 20 parts per million free, you might have seen it drop down to five or go up to 35. With the system we’ve put in place, you see plus or minus two, so it can go from 18 to 22. If you can maintain that band tightly, you have more control of your system.”



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Carey    
Salinas  |  August, 02, 2013 at 09:41 AM

FOOD SAFETY that makes you go hmmmm. I find it very interesting that EBF is "teaching" the industry about Food Safety. More interesting is that they tout their "Food Safety" in the media all the time preaching how best to conduct "Food Safety", isn't this the same group that caused the biggest outbreak in produce history? I just find that interesting... Hmmmmm.

Todd    
New York  |  August, 02, 2013 at 09:47 AM

Hmmmm. So true. It amazes me that EBF beats their chest so often with their "Food Safety" program. I find it kinda insulting that they are going to "teach" other growers about "Food Safety" I've toured plenty of very accomplished growers with strong Food Safety programs and none of them are looking for media attention on their Food Safety program. Hmmmm...where there is smoke, there is always a smoke screen!

Scott    
Illinois  |  October, 10, 2013 at 11:42 AM

Ok, so EBF is promoting a Chlorine wash sytem that they can't seem to control the PPM. What's New about that? Too much employees are harmed, too little consumers are harmed. I would much rather hear they are working with Ozone with a percise PPM and demonstrating how it saves money while improving food safety.

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