All Chilean avocados entering the U.S. market are Global-G.A.P.-certified, since the fruit is shipped to markets worldwide.
Shippers say the food safety standard isn’t a marketing tool, but it is helpful in making sales.
“I think anytime you can market GlobalG.A.P. fruit or just G.A.P. (good agricultural practices) certified, it’s an added benefit,” said Dana Thomas, president of Riverside, Calif.-based Index Fresh Inc.
Customers are demanding fruit meet rigorous safety and quality standards, Thomas said.
“It’s attractive to customers to have G.A.P.-certified fruit,” he said.
It’s not so much a marketing advantage, since all countries of origin are headed in the same direction with safety standards, Thomas said.
The demand makes sense in today’s food safety-conscious marketplace, said Rankin McDaniel, owner of Fallbrook, Calif.-based McDaniel Fruit Co.
“We need to know that our supply chain is safe, so GlobalG.A.P. or any of those food safety programs that need to be in place are extremely important,” McDaniel said.
Chile moved toward GlobalG.A.P. standards for food safety in the early 2000s because of the diversity of its customer base, said Adolfo Ochagavía, president of the Chilean Hass Avocado Committee.
“Chile started with this requirement many years ago because the (United Kingdom) market asked the industry to certify GlobalG.A.P. and other special retailer protocols, like Tesco’s,” Ochagavia said.
The standards in place work well for Chilean fruit, said Chris Varvel, sales/distribution manager with Escondido, Calif.-based Henry Avocado Corp.
“Chile has a great reputation for being conscious of food safety, having safe programs, the way they handle the fruit,” he said.