Although M&M has long packed under safety practices, he said, the operation hadn’t documented the procedures and made the necessary changes to satisfy an audit.
Other growers-shippers also have been working on certification.
Although Brooks Tropicals Inc., Homestead, Fla., has long had its packing facility third-party audited by PrimusLabs, Santa Maria, Calif., the company is nearing third-party certification for all its avocado groves and crews, said Bill Brindle, Brooks’ vice president of sales management.
Brooks has conducted a pilot program for the Produce Traceability Initiative-compliant GS1-128 labels and the Global Trade Identification Numbers for case lots, Brindle said. Brooks is working with key retailers to ensure they meet buyers’ requirements.
“Theoretically, a lot is supposed to be done by the end of this year,” Brindle said. “But as I talk with people in the industry, most of them are in the position where we are, where they’re trying to figure out what needs to be done and the most efficient way to do it. When you do things like that, you really don’t want to have to do it twice. You don’t want to race out there first and do it one way when another big retailer tells you to do it a different way. You don’t want to be in a position where you’ve already invested in it and find out it has to be done differently.”
J&C Tropicals, Miami, is working with Primus to have its groves certified.
“We expect to achieve certification by August,” said Jeanette Rodriguez, J&C’s vice president of marketing. “We are shooting for PrimusGFS, the industry’s highest standard or benchmark, with worldwide certification.”
J&C is seeking dual certification of its harvest and packinghouse crews, Rodriguez said.