Yes. Suppliers of all our products, domestically-grown or imported, must adhere to the same FDA produce-specific guidelines and pass third-party audits. Furthermore, all suppliers are moving toward GFSI-compliant auditing schemes, such as SQF and Global GAP.
Q6. How involved is Frontera with suppliers’ growing practices?
In most cases, where we own or are in a partnership with the grower, Frontera is intimately involved in every aspect of the growing practices. In cases where we act only as the marketing agent, as was the case with Jensen Farms, we are not directly involved in the specific growing practices, although, like all of our suppliers, they do commit to following Good Agricultural Practices. These suppliers may also keep us informed as to how the crop is progressing so that we know when product will be available for sale and shipping, but we do not dictate practices. In these cases, we rely upon third-party audits to verify that farms from which we source product comply with acceptable food safety practices.
Q7. What’s your view on the lawsuits that have named Frontera as a defendant?
First, it is important to remember that the greatest tragedy in all of this is the human one. And it is this human tragedy that drives us to continue to analyze every aspect of this unprecedented event in an attempt to prevent it from ever happening again.
That there is litigation is not surprising; almost anytime there is an injury, a lawsuit will follow. In fact, it is to be expected. We have seen this again and again, where even companies that never saw or touched the product were drawn into litigation based on association or something other than actual wrong-doing. It is an unfortunate reality.
Q8. One attorney said he expects Frontera to be forced into chapter 7 liquidation. Is that valid?
From what I’ve read, these comments are part of much unfounded speculation that, unfortunately, is also not surprising in these cases. I will repeat what I have said before. I have no intention of engaging in such speculation. What’s important to know is that all of us, including myself and all of the dedicated people who work with me, look forward to serving our customers for many years to come.
Q9. Does this cantaloupe outbreak make Frontera reassess its business model or other practices?