Grower-shippers vouch for certification process - The Packer

Grower-shippers vouch for certification process

05/06/2014 03:10:00 PM
Tom Burfield

Quality Certification Services certifies Wish Farms, Plant City, Fla., said Gary Wishnatzki, president and chief executive officer.

“We’re paying them to do the third-party certification, but they follow strict guidelines, and they get audited,” he said. “They don’t have a lot of opportunity to fudge anything. Things are either black or white with them.”

Wish Farms, like other organic growers, is required to do a lot of documentation, Wishnatzki added.

“They definitely take us to task on a lot of different things to make sure we’re doing it according to the letter of the law,” he said. “There’s no question that it’s being done correctly.”

If a grower falsifies that documentation, he risks more than losing his certification, Wishnatzki said. “You can go to jail for doing things improperly.”

Bill McCoy, owner of Better Life Produce Inc., Los Angeles, said his company was inspected in early April.

“They are so stringent on everything they do, from traceability through certifications,” he said. “They make sure we are absolutely up to date.”

Even certifications in Mexico are confirmed by Better Life’s organic certifier to make sure they are current.

“I believe that (criticism) is wrong,” he said. “If you get caught doing anything, the state would be all over you and your certifier would pull your license.”

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