Organic Alliance Inc., Salinas, Calif., is expanding its food safety and quality program to its global markets in Europe and South America.
Parker Booth, president and chief operating officer, said the company is partnering with auditor Lighthouse Food Safety and Quality LLC, Salinas, on food safety and quality standards for produce growers in Mexico, Peru and other South American countries.
Booth said part of the new program draws from the food safety standards of the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement by looking at soil and water quality and other requirements for pre-harvest and pre-planting audits. The standards apply to organic crops including pineapples, apples, pears, bell peppers, cucumbers and avocados, Booth said.
"We are working on the strategy and logistics," Booth said. "We have lot growers coming online right now."
Lighthouse founder Walt Armijo has been doing field inspections for Organic Alliance's international growers since June, Booth said, and will see more growers as the season picks up for the Southern Hemisphere. Armijo is working with organic lime growers in Mexico and Peruvian organic avocado growers to import fair trade certified products.
Organic Alliance Inc. plans to use the association with Lighthouse to build a global platform for products from the U.S., Mexico, Singapore, Chile, Argentina, France and other countries, according to the company. Booth said the goal is to standardize the company's food safety standards for all items.
Booth said the publicly traded company's growth and revenues are right on target, with a customer base of 30 companies between both foodservice and retail in the U.S. and European markets.
"This is exactly where we want o be right now," he said.
The company plans to add 12 customers next year as it expands its organic and Fair Trade offerings in the U.S. and Europe, he said.
Booth declined to name specific retailers the company is supplying.
Organic Alliance is also expanding its grower base, Booth said. Its U.S. customers are supplied almost entirely by domestic growers, with some produce sourced from Latin America, and its European customers receiving produce from Mexico and South America.